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David Molitor, Martha Linstroth, and Rebecca Marcus.

From left to right: David Molitor, Martha Linstroth, and Rebecca Marcus.

Stories behind the voices

From M, winter 2005

Three students helped U President Robert Bruininks draw attention in the media this fall to the University's drive to raise scholarships gifts. All three are at the U in part because of the scholarships they received. They went on the air with Bruininks to record ads featured on KSTP and WCCO radio in October, talking about what having a scholarship means to them. Here's a closer look at the students behind the voices.

Rebecca Markus Self-described "clean freak," Rebecca Markus of Amhurst, Wisconsin, is a freshman in the College of Biological Sciences. Markus is studying microbiology, but her interests aren't limited to things that can be seen with a microscope. During high school, she was captain of her dance team and was involved in musicals, gymnastics, and band. And every summer, she and her family put on a water ski show. Markus had every intention of attending the University of Wisconsin. Then she visited the U of M. She loved the Twin Cities. "It feels homey here," says Markus. "And the U made an effort to get to know me, making it seem smaller." A scholarship clinched her decision to attend. "Since I know I'll be going to medical school, I worry about debt," Markus says. "The scholarship makes doing undergraduate work much easier."

David Molitor David Molitor of White Bear Lake, Minnesota, is a junior earning a double major in math and economics with a minor in physics. He comes from a family with eight kids and, like all of his siblings, was home schooled. At the U, Molitor wanted to take an honors class in math, but knew he wasn't adequately prepared. So he did what came naturally: he picked up a math book and studied on his own. Not only was he accepted in the class, he earned one of the top scores. This class eliminated two years of undergraduate math work, enabling Molitor to start graduate math classes his junior year. "All of this would have been impossible but for scholarships," Molitor says. "In addition to covering tuition and living expenses, these gifts allowed me to visit a physics lab in northern Minnesota, hold summer research positions to study quantum phenomena, and attend an international conference on math. I want to squeeze all that I can out of my years at the U."

Martha Linstroth Martha Linstroth of Columbia Heights is majoring in finance at the Carlson School. But even though it's her first year at the U, she's not a freshman. She entered as a junior after attending the U full-time during her last two years of high school. "My abilities and ambitions drove me," she says. "It was a great opportunity." Linstroth, who has always liked math, recognized her calling in the tenth grade when she had to do a research paper for an English class. "Most students chose topics like the history of the Barbie doll or a breed of dog," she says. "I did my paper on the Roth IRA. It taught me that finance is another language and that it's good to be financially savvy." "Having a scholarship recognizes my academic achievements and hard work," she says. "And I can put my attention where it belongs: toward school."

To hear the students in the scholarship ads, go to www.giving.umn.edu/ads.

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