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Getting Started With the Jourdan Mentor Scholarship

How a Donor’s Gift Combines Funds and Function

Jake Parks

Jake Parks is off to a successful start as a UNI physics major thanks to the Jourdan Mentor-Scholar program.

During Jake Parks’ freshman year at the University of Northern Iowa, he received a scholarship, but it was more than financial help. Not only did the award ease the physics major’s financial burden, it also provided Jake with a mentor.

The Jourdan Mentor-Scholar program, created with a gift from Richard Jourdan, connects a physics major who has completed at least one year of his or her degree to a first- or second-year student majoring in physics. The upperclassman mentors the underclassman scholar. The program aims to help students be successful their freshman year.

“Having a mentor freshman year was really helpful,” Jake says. “It gave me a heads up as to what to expect. The physics curriculum is not stuff you use every day. It’s nice to talk to someone experienced to know how to prepare myself as well as how to be ready for what’s to come.”

Jake is in the physics/engineering dual degree program that UNI offers in partnership with Iowa State University and the University of Iowa. After three years at UNI and two at the University of Iowa, Jake will receive a degree in physics from UNI and a degree in mechanical engineering from Iowa.

“I want donors to know what they do benefits not only students, but the people in the world those students go on to affect,” he says.

Jake is spending his summer doing research in the UNI Physics Department. He will serve as a mentor in the Jourdan Mentor-Scholar program this fall.

Richard Jourdan

Richard Jourdan

Jourdan Shapes Students’ Futures

When Richard Jourdan arrived for his freshman year at UNI in 1948, he didn’t have a career path in mind and there was little guidance to help him explore his options. That’s when the seed for the Jourdan Mentor Scholarship was planted.

“The idea is to help somebody get on board,” Richard says. “My aim is to help people get started. If I can help them out their freshman year and they decide to go on another path, that’s still useful.”

Richard’s family has a long history with UNI’s Physics Department. In fact, Jourdan’s grandfather, Louis Begeman, established the department for the university.

Open Doors of Opportunity

Your future gift to the UNI Foundation helps more students achieve their dreams. Contact Steve Gearhart at 319-273-5968 or steve.gearhart@uni.edu to learn about the many ways you can support UNI.

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