The University of Lethbridge has been the professional home of Drs. Shelly and Stephen Wismath for more than 30 years and, being well aware of the costs and challenges that come with student life, they have created two new student awards to recognize excellence and commitment.
“Education is what changes the world — it certainly changed my life,” says Shelly, a former mathematics professor and now dean of the School of Liberal Education. “It opened up a whole new world for me. I had a student loan and scholarships; I wouldn’t have gone to university otherwise.”
Stephen, professor emeritus, is a computer scientist who taught in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. He and Shelly have created an award worth $1,000 that will go to a computer science student, and they hope the scholarship will benefit female students especially.
“Women are underrepresented in computer science and we’d like to see the situation improve,” says Stephen.
The scholarship will be for students in their third year of study who have shown a commitment to a program of study in computer science. A student’s grade point average will be the main criterion.
The other award, the School of Liberal Education Volunteer Scholarship, is designed to recognize the volunteer work done by students.
“There are students who put enormous time and effort into organizing things or working with different organizations,” says Shelly. “They do that just because it’s the right thing to do for them. We thought it would be good to have an award that rewards a certain level of academic excellence but also that kind of commitment.”
To be eligible, students need to be registered with UVolunteer, the partnership between the U of L and Volunteer Lethbridge.Through UVolunteer, students can document their volunteer hours and create a volunteer transcript. In addition to being registered with UVolunteer, applicants will also need to submit an essay about volunteerism and its connections to liberal education, and the impact volunteering has had on their lives.
From the start of the semester in September 2018 until the end of February 2019, UVolunteer had more than 300 new student registrations and those students contributed nearly 2,200 hours of their time. Their contributions were worth more than $50,000 to the local economy.