Past Scholarship Winners

Jack H. jack-howard-hs I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to the members who made this award possible. I would like to thank the Penn State University Greater Chicago Alumni Chapter for selecting me as one of the recipients of the 2022-2023 scholarship. The generosity of the PSU Chicago Chapter members will provide me financial support allowing me to focus on my coursework and research as in as I head into my senior year here at Penn State. My time spent at University Park have been full of meaningful connections with students from across the country, and I have been proud to represent the Greater Chicago area to my peers. The sense of community that I’ve found here in my four years will be maintained as I will soon join an alumni chapter myself upon graduation. I’m a senior Biology major conducting research in plant genetics as well as a member of the PSU Men’s Club volleyball team. Upon graduation, I’m looking to explore industry research in the biotechnology field before applying to graduate school to pursue higher education. Thank you to all who supported this scholarship!
Brayden C. brayden-headshot-min My name is Brayden Caraynoff-Huber. I am a senior studying political science and history and will graduate in 2023. My goal is to attend law school after graduation in the spring. This scholarship will help me alleviate some of the stress of paying for my education and allow me to save more money for my future education plans. Thank you to the Greater Chicago Alumni Chapter for selecting me as one of the 2022-2023 scholarship recipients.  
Claire S. claire-s I am incredibly honored to be a recipient of the 2020-2021 PSU Chicago Chapter Scholarship! I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to the members who made this award possible. I cannot describe the pride that this recognition makes me feel and the motivation it gives me to continue to strive for the excellence in and out of the classroom at Penn State. The generosity of the PSU Chicago Chapter members is particularly touching as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. I cannot thank you enough for choosing to give me the gift of education during the most difficult year of many of our lives. Balancing the financial responsibility of an out of state education and enriching extracurricular activities would not be possible without the generosity of the PSU Chicago Chapter members. With this award, I will be able to pursue valuable internship and volunteer opportunities outside of the classroom that will make me a well-rounded pre-health student. I am passionate about maternal and infant healthcare, and I plan to attend a graduate school that will prepare me to practice as a nurse-midwife. I am also very interested in health disparities and global health policy. With the help of the PSU Chicago Chapter Scholarship, I will be able to fund a Global Health internship and lessons in Spanish. These experiences will be invaluable in my future career. As a Penn State Alumni and healthcare provider, I will strive to spread the same generosity that you have given me. Thank you so much for this incredible gift. WE ARE!
Saaniya F. saaniya-farhan I want to thank the Penn State Greater Chicago Alumni Chapter for bestowing on me this esteemed scholarship. During these tumultuous times of a global pandemic, it is comforting to know that a group of Nittany Lions is always looking out for each other. With this award, I can successfully pursue my academic endeavors, and I will dedicate my energy towards finishing my bachelor's degree one year early. During my saved year, I plan on conducting medical research in Chicago before matriculating to Jefferson Medical College in Fall 2022. Throughout my Penn State experience, I have met people from all across the globe who, despite their diverse beliefs and backgrounds, can all respond to "We Are" the same. Engaging with this community through service opportunities and research endeavors has cemented my resolve to become a physician dedicated to achieving health equity. The gracious support of the Greater Chicago Alumni Chapter has enabled me progress towards my aspirations at the speed and tenacity that I am today. Thank you so much to all who have contributed to making this Nittany Lion's dreams one step closer!
Maude T. maude-t I would like to sincerely thank the Penn State University Chicago Chapter for awarding me this scholarship. My time at Penn State has been life-changing, and it has molded me into the person I am today. I am grateful for not only the education opportunities that I have had, but also the variety of leadership roles I have been able to hold these past four years. Because of this, I am excited to take my Penn State Pride with me to my next adventure after I graduate this Spring with a degree in Secondary Education and join my local alumni chapter! Thank you again for this award.

 Frank DiLeo

  I am writing to express my sincere gratitude to you and the committee for selecting me as a recipient of the Penn State Chicago scholarship.  I am so humbled to have been chosen for this award knowing that there were many qualified applicants. 
The Penn State Chicago scholarship means a great deal to me. As an out-of-state student with a brother attending college and another brother attending university in the upcoming fall, the scholarship aids my family and I with the cost of college that I will be forever grateful for. Thank you for continuing to support and encourage higher education. Your kindness and generosity are greatly appreciated.

 Deja Bryant

The Penn State Chicago scholarship gives me the greatest gift of all time. The time that I would have had to spend searching for scholarships I can now put to better use. I can focus more on my studies and also on extracurricular activities. It allows me to get the full Penn State experience; giving me to opportunity to connect with my peers and professors. I cannot put into words how grateful I am. Thank you to everyone who contributed and made this scholarship possible!

 Katie Kaminsky

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This photo was taken the very first time I stepped foot onto the Penn State University Park campus during my senior year of high school. Since this photo was taken, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Penn State, and I can’t believe that I’m already halfway through my sophomore year. This scholarship means a lot to me because it gives me the chance to contribute to the cost of my education. Additionally, the money will help with my decision to go abroad this summer. I am proud to be a Nittany Lion, and although I may come from farther away than many of my other classmates, I can’t imagine going anywhere else. I have had the opportunity to meet students from all over Pennsylvania, the nation, and the world, and I know that having a degree from Penn State will mean a lot for my future. Thank you Penn State Chicago for recognizing my accomplishments and giving me the chance to further my education in Happy Valley!

 Matthew Downing

matthew-downing  I wanted to express my deepest gratitude for the scholarship awarded to me by the Penn State Greater Chicago Alumni Chapter. The Greater Chicago Alumni Chapter has supported me throughout my time at Penn State. As I now prepare for life after graduation, I find myself reflecting upon the important role organizations like the Penn State Chicago Alumni Chapter have played in shaping my Penn State experience. Without the financial support I have received from Penn State Chicago Scholarships it would not have been possible for me to do research abroad in China, Costa Rica, and South Africa. Furthermore, I would not have been able to afford my tuition at University Park, where I am set to complete a double major in Biology and Biobehavioral Health with a minor in Global Health in the spring of 2017. I have recently accepted a spot as a student at Rush Medical College back home in Chicago for the Fall of 2017!  When interviewing at Rush, both my philanthropic activities and my commitment to the pursuit of knowledge were heavily discussed. Both of these activities are important because they are indicators of qualities I think make a good doctor. These qualities are embodied by the Penn State Chicago Alumni Chapter. Giving, a sense of community, and eagerness to learn are all a part of the Penn State experience, and these qualities have been shown to me by the support I have received from the Penn State Chicago Alumni Chapter. Having worked different jobs over the past four years to afford my education, the financial support from the Penn State Chicago Alumni Chapter is deeply appreciated. Without the Penn State Chicago Scholarship I could not be in the position I am today, eager to take the next steps towards a lifetime of community service. Thank you for all of your support throughout my time at Penn State. 

Angela Widlacki

angela-widlacki  After college, I would love to return to Chicago to teach Penn State values to young soccer players through coaching, as well as get involved in any way possible with THON in the Second City.
Kelly Balmes     Through the generous support of the Greater Chicago Chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association, I am able to pursue a degree from a world-renowned university well known for its excellence in my chosen field of study of meteorology.  Any financial support means I can focus further on my education and not on the cost of college.  By attending Penn State, I have been given countless opportunities to further my knowledge and develop professionally.  I have gained experience that has prepared me to excel as I transition to the next step after graduation in May.


Tommy Cerri    My name is Tommy Cerri and I am a Junior at Penn State-University Park majoring in Biology.  I chose Penn State over other leading universities because of its unparalleled educational reputation as well as its sense of family and pride. My past two and a half years have been filled with incredible experiences from going to classes to doing research in a lab in the Eberly College of Science, going on a Medical Brigade to Ghana were we set up a temporary clinic, to being a member of THON, the largest student run philanthropy in the world which raised over 13 million dollars last year for the fight against pediatric cancer.  I am also a Lion Ambassador.  As an Ambassador of Penn State, I work to fulfill the mission of instilling pride among the student body and promote the University within the Penn State community including past, present and future students. The Ambassadors assist the Penn State Alumni Association and serve the University through campus-wide projects, events, philanthropies, as well as guided tours to prospective students and other University guests.  Each of these experiences has had a positive impact on me I can only hope that my experiences and volunteering have also had a positive impact on others.  There is so much more ahead of me as a student and member of the Penn State family and through the support and generosity of the Penn State Alumni Association-Chicago I can continue to work on my educational goal of becoming a doctor.   WE ARE….PENN STATE!!! 

Brooke Meyer       
The PSU Chicago scholarship means a great deal to me, as it is allowing me to continue pursuing my education and developing my skills to the fullest. With this scholarship, it will ultimately help me graduate a year early (this summer). This is a big ordeal, as I am saving myself a year of tuition! I have been able to manage heavy loads throughout my years, particularly my last semester, as well as this semester with this scholarship because I have less stress about my finances. PSU Chicago alumni have allowed me to lower my hours working at Wegmans from 18 to 10 hours per week and focus more on my academics and internship this semester. I am honored to be able to receive the help and support from the Chicago alumni and I can’t thank them enough for it.
We Are Family,
Brooke Meyer
Kinesiology “Fitness Studies”
PSU Strength & Conditioning Intern
THON R&R Committee Member 



Three years ago, I made a huge decision to accept an offer from The Pennsylvania State University to attend the prestigious school. I am enormously happy I made the decision to attend Penn State because I am now about to graduate as a triple major in political science, psychology with a life sciences option, and African Studies. I am learning about things I am passionate about but I am also being exposed to opportunities and programs I would have never imagined participating in if it was not for attending Penn State. The financial contribution of the Greater Chicago Alumni Chapter has meant a great deal as far as allowing me to continue my education at a great educational institution and being an agent to my academic success.

I have been enjoying my time at Penn State because of the opportunities I have received to explore subjects and internships that I am interested in. I appreciate Penn State and its alumni for providing me with financial support in order to be able to attend such programs as the Model African Union in Washington D.C., the Explore Law Program hosted by Penn State, the Ohio Northern University’s Pre-Law Undergraduate Scholars Program, and an internship with Yale Medical University. Additionally, all of these various opportunities have opened my eyes to different career paths I can take once I graduate.

As far as my plans for after graduation, I am seriously considering law school but I am going to take a year off to go back to Ethiopia to volunteer, while hopefully working for the African Union.
Thank you, Greater Chicago Alumni Chapter, for your amazing support.
Meilen G. Teklemichael