Kelsey Cariveau 
UND student studying nursing

What did it mean for you to receive the scholarship?
I think it's a great honor, just because, obviously, her passing was very tragic and you have to pick someone very special to receive this scholarship in memory of her. I think that it's incredible that I am put in that position to continue her legacy. I think that's a great honor.

What impact has receiving the Dru Sjodin Scholarship had on your life?
I come from a single parent household. It's just my mom. Money's kind of tight. Going to school, I was really pushed into applying for as many scholarships as I could just so that I wouldn't have to work so much and I could focus on school. When I signed up for the scholarship, I didn't know how much I was getting if I were to win it, and then I didn't really know until the luncheon, after I had already received it. Then they told me the amount, I was blown away. This scholarship almost pays for my entire year of school, so it just makes school so much less stressful knowing that I don't have to worry about the money aspect and I can focus strictly on the academics.


Breanna Egeland 
UND student studying communications

My plans have changed slightly since earning this scholarship during the 2016-2017 school year. Upon applying, I was a nursing major. When I started following school year I decided that majoring in communications was a better route for me. My plans have changed slightly since earning this scholarship during the 2016-2017 school year. Upon applying, I was a nursing major. When I started following school year I decided that majoring in communications was a better route for me.

What did it mean for you to receive the scholarship?
It seemed that my life was a complete mess at the time I was applying for this scholarship. I had been going through some very tough family issues, which had caused my motivation to deplete completely. My grades were slipping, I couldn’t get myself out of bed, and the relationships I held with friends were beginning to diminish as well. My grandfather encouraged me to apply and I did so with the attitude that it would be for nothing. Much to my surprise, I earned an interview and then earned the scholarship later that day. Receiving this scholarship meant so much more to me than financial help; it was a second chance. At a time when hardly anything seemed to be going my way, I saw it as a turning point. I shared the story that I thought had ruined me as an individual, but the panel I told saw potential in me. I will be forever grateful to them.


Morgan Devine, ’16
Graduate Student at UND 

BS in Psychology, Minors in Sociology and Women and Gender Studies
Attending UND Graduate School, 2nd year Masters Student in Sociology
Graduate Teaching Assistant at the University of North Dakota
Mother of two children, Charlie Marie (3) and Carter John (2 months)

What did it mean for you to receive the scholarship?
Receiving the Dru Sjodin Memorial Scholarship is my proudest moment as an undergraduate at UND. Being a recipient strengthened my confidence. Working with scholarship recipient's mentor, Kay Mendick (former Women's Center director), speaking at Take Back the Night, and being on the Committee for Sexual Violence Prevention allowed me to speak openly and honestly about the issues that woman on campus are facing. These experiences have empowered and driven me to be a better leader and speak with a louder voice about the issues I am passionate about. Being a recipient and attending the luncheon on a yearly basis has connected me with the previous recipients. This connection has strengthened my understanding of what this scholarship means and reminds me just how important it is to speak out and continue to fight against the normalizing of violence that our society all too easily accepts. Dru was a passionate, strong leader in her sorority and on the campus, her legacy is what I want to honor with everything I still do on campus and hope to do in the future. 

What impact did being a Dru Sjodin Memorial Scholarship recipient have on your life? 
This scholarship allowed for me to finish my undergraduate degree and empowered me to apply for graduate school. Being a recipient led me to a job as a GSA at the UND Women's Center. Finding a work environment that allowed me to do work that I am extremely passionate about has helped me gain a sense of direction for my life. Without the scholarship and all it offers, I do not think I be where I am at today. I would highly recommend applying for this scholarship to anyone that is interested in violence prevention and being a strong voice; not only for women, but all students on campus and in the community. This scholarship relieves so much of the financial strain college can often bare and creates so many open doors for being an active and engaged member of the campus community and beyond. 


Maggie O’Leary, ‘15
Cornell University doctoral student studying English language and literature

I am working on my PhD in English language and literature at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. I finished my Masters this spring at Portland State University after moving there following my graduation from UND in 2015. The goal is to find a job teaching, writing, and researching at the collegiate level.

What did it mean for you to receive the scholarship? 
It meant everything to me--I would not have been able to simply spend time being a student my senior year at UND if I had not received this scholarship. It enabled me to strengthen personal and academic relationships to a significant extent, and I am still very close to many of my best friends from UND and to several professors I had the privilege of working with more closely because the scholarship enabled me to spend less time working to pay for school. I was also able to pay for graduate school applications and testing fees as a result of this scholarship--something that would have been extremely difficult to pursue without that support. Furthermore, I felt more connected to UND as a community and the scholarship solidified the emotional and intellectual attachment I have to the campus in a way that makes me feel invested in campus affairs even after having graduated two years ago. 

What impact did being a Dru Sjodin Memorial Scholarship recipient have on your life?
The scholarship empowered me as a student and as an activist, and reminded me that what I do at school and what I do because I feel it is right are not separate actions--in fact, they can never be so. I was awarded the scholarship based on my intellectual and scholastic interests, but also because there was so much to do on campus and in Grand Forks regarding sexual assault and violence prevention--and I felt as though I could, in a small way, contribute to that doing. I am in graduate school and want to teach based on thoughts and possibilities I first expressed in my scholarship essay, and to the amazing women who interviewed me and asked me difficult--but answerable!--questions. In that way--and may others--this scholarship has made the life I have now, and hopefully the life I have in the future, something tangible and real and possible.


Sarah Borgen, ‘15
Case manager at Americans Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center in Portland, Oregon

What did it mean for you to receive the scholarship?
It is through the Dru Sjodin Memorial Scholarship that I realized my calling to advocate for victims and to prevent domestic violence and sexual assault. It is through the IMPACT Self Defence class, the Women’s Center, and my ability to major in Women and Gender Studies, did I learn the necessary tools to be the best advocate that I can be. This path led me to pursue a master’s in International Community Health at the University of Oslo, Norway. Sexual violence is a global public health epidemic, of which I see daily at work. As a case manager at the Americans Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center, I advocate for clients around the world who are experiencing domestic violence and sexual assault. The Dru Sjodin Memorial Scholarship enabled me to achieve my dreams and to better understand that, “our lives no longer belong to us alone; they belong to all those who need us desperately.” -Elie Wiesel


Sonja (Collin) Murray, ‘13
Mortgage loan officer at Gate City Bank in Grand Forks 

I am proud to continue to call Grand Forks home with my husband, Nathan, and our black lab, Brocket. We are expecting our first child in December. I work at Gate City Bank as a mortgage loan officer, where I am actively involved in community events. I continue my work with the UND Delta Gamma Everson Family Lectureship in Values and Ethics, which  we began when I was the president of the UND Delta Gamma chapter my senior year.  I am proud of the work we have done to bring a speaker to UND’s campus every other year to inspire students and the community alike.

What did it mean for you to receive the scholarship? 
I will never forget the moment when I received the call that I had been chosen as the scholarship recipient. It was a tremendous honor and privilege to be able to carry on Dru’s name and legacy during my time as the scholarship recipient. It was one of the most memorable and defining experiences of my college career, because it gave me greater exposure to more people and organizations on campus and in the Grand Forks community as a whole. As the scholarship recipient in 2012, I had the opportunity to speak at events and participate in meetings, which opened my eyes to the great resources and programs UND offers students outside of the classroom.

What impact did being a Dru Sjodin Memorial Scholarship recipient have on your life? 
Receiving the scholarship has had a tremendous impact on my life. Dru’s story and the way she affected those around her continue to inspire me daily. It has empowered me to learn more about self-defense and ways to protect myself and others in dangerous situations. I hope to continue to be active in raising awareness on issues that affect North Dakota, Grand Forks and UND throughout my life.   


Grace (Torguson) Hauschild, ‘12
Graduate Nursing Student at UND

I graduated in 2012 from the University of North Dakota with a Bachelor of Science in nursing degree. Afterwards, I moved to Washington, D.C., to join my fiancé, Grant Hauschild, and to work as a registered nurse in the Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit at Georgetown University Hospital. There I was an active member of the Healthcare Advocacy and Legislation Committee and received the Spirit Award for providing excellent care to my patients. I lived with Grant in Washington, D.C,. until 2015 at which time we relocated back to Grand Forks, after I was accepted into the Nurse Anesthesia Program at UND. In August of 2015, Grant and I married and I began my graduate degree. I am currently enjoying my clinical rotations and am set to graduate from UND with my master’s in nursing in December of 2017. 

What did it mean for you to receive the scholarship?
Receiving the Dru Sjodin Scholarship was a pivotal moment for me in my undergraduate education. To have received a scholarship of that magnitude in honor of a wonderful woman, it was, to say the least, very humbling. As someone who worked throughout my entire college career to be as financially responsible as I could, it was a huge weight off my shoulders. To feel acknowledged for my hard work and to be chosen as someone who they believed could appropriately represent Dru’s legacy was very rewarding.

What impact did being a Dru Sjodin Memorial Scholarship recipient have on your life?
Being a Dru Sjodin Scholar impacted me in so many ways. Receiving that award taught me one of the most important lessons I have learned to date. It was something that may seem so simple, but for me it was a lesson I needed. It taught me that if you do not try, you will never know and it is better to try and fail then to not try at all. This may seem obvious to some, but I needed to really learn it in action to realize the impact of those words. In honesty, I almost did not apply for the scholarship as I had already counted myself out. I told myself there were far more qualified candidates than me and I would never win. But despite that doubt, I persisted. It was one of the best things I could have done. I learned to have more faith in myself. And I have applied this lesson to my life from there on out. From that moment on, I never count myself out. Even if I have doubts or it makes me uncomfortable, I still try. Because wonderful things can happen if you just try.


Seinquis (Slater) Leinen, ’11
Associate Director of Admissions at NDSU

After graduating from UND in 2011 with my bachelors in sociology, I began working in higher education admission. I have worked in admission offices at UND, Minot State, and am now at NDSU serving as the Associate Director of Admission. In December 2013, I received my masters degree in Educational Administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. My husband and I moved to Fargo in 2014 and have a black lab named Cy. I also currently serve as the chapter advisor for Alpha Chi Omega sorority at UND - this will be my second year in that role, and was recruitment advisor for two years prior to becoming chapter advisor.

What did it mean for you to receive the scholarship?
Being a recipient of the Dru Sjodin scholarship was, and still is, one of my proudest accomplishments. Being raised by a single parent, this award dramatically helped me fund my education while at UND and reduced the amount of student loans I needed to cover expenses. Applying for this scholarship was a very meaningful opportunity for me because it was during this time that I found my voice and gained the courage to share my personal experience with sexual assault.

What impact did being a Dru Sjodin Memorial Scholarship recipient have on your life?
To add to my previous answer, being a recipient of this award meant more to me than just the financial benefit. My personal experience with sexual assault in October 2008 affected my life so much that I isolated myself from people important to me. Interviewing for this scholarship was one of the first times I opened up about my personal experience, and becoming the recipient made me so proud and ultimately gave me the strength I needed to tell my story, help others, but also help myself. I am forever grateful for receiving this award because it positively impacted my life in more ways than one. 


Tori Mauch, ‘10
Human Resources manager with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Minneapolis


Rebecca Bahnmiller, ’09, ‘11
Director of Operations for Indigo Education, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting special education services in charter schools across Minnesota. Also runs a website and graphic design business, BeeGee Designs

I am currently living in St. Paul, Minnesota, with my two Pembroke Welsh Corgis, Baylee and Moo. I serve as the Director of Operations for Indigo Education, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting special education services in charter schools across Minnesota. Besides my full-time work, I also operate my own website and graphic design business, BeeGee Designs, and volunteer with EDTalks (Minneapolis) and TEDxGrandForks and Global Friends Coalition (Grand Forks).

What did it mean for you to receive the scholarship?
The Dru Sjodin Memorial Scholarship enhanced my education with numerous opportunities to connect and serve people and organizations across the university and the region, most notably through work with the Clothesline Project, the Community Violence Intervention Center, the Panhellenic Council, and the Dean of Students Office. These roles shaped the way I approach community involvement today - not as a hobby for my free time but as a purpose-driven means to inform and create an environment of connection, innovation, and engagement in the world around me. 

What impact did being a Dru Sjodin Memorial Scholarship recipient have on your life?
The Dru Sjodin Memorial Scholarship continues to impact my life through personal connections and mentoring opportunities with other strong women leaders - each with different life experiences but with shared passions for empowerment, engagement, and activism. I am continually inspired by this growing network of women that exemplify Dru's legacy through purpose-driven involvements within their local communities and beyond.

Update: Bahnmiller was hired in September 2017 as the new executive director of Grand Forks' Community Foundation.


Megan Towner, ’09
Senior Marketing Manager – Acquisition at Understood, a New York nonprofit aimed at supporting parents of children with learning and attention issues


Alyson Wilhelmi Downs, ’07
Director of Occupational Therapy and Activities at Dakota Alpha in Mandan, a skilled nursing facility specializing in traumatic brain injury

Working on my PhD in Educational Foundations & Research from UND (hopeful graduation in 2018!) 
I work at Dakota Alpha in Mandan, ND, which is a skilled nursing facility specializing in Traumatic Brain Injury; it is the only facility of its kind in North Dakota.  I am the Director of Occupational Therapy and Activities.  

I have been married to my husband Kyle for over five years; he is also a UND grad ('08 &'10).  

I am a member of the Bismarck-Mandan Civic Choir, Director of the Bismarck-Mandan Scholarship Pageant, and a committee member for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Out of the Darkness Walk. In my spare time, I have a passion for public speaking on my educational program, Coping with Stress: Crown Your Health. I appreciate opportunities to travel and love to return to my hometown of Nekoma, North Dakota, to help out on the century-old family farm.  

What did it mean for you to receive the scholarship? 
As Dru's sorority sister, winning the scholarship was one of the most bittersweet experiences of my life.  I was walking into one of my graduate occupational therapy classes when I received the phone call congratulating me on receiving the scholarship.  After many 'Thank you's,' I cried both happy and sad tears.  To have lived through the unimaginable tragedy alongside my sisters, friends, fellow UND students, Grand Forks community, and the rest of the country, it humbled me immensely in that moment.  

What impact did being a Dru Sjodin Memorial Scholarship recipient have on your life?
Dru's zest for life, creativity, and love of others are the traits I embrace most dearly and carry with me each day.  Being a recipient of her memorial scholarship has instilled in me the importance of living life to the fullest; it is what we should all strive to do with the days God has given us on this earth! 

Growing up in rural North Dakota, I was raised to believe in the importance of being involved in the community and giving back to others.  When I am public speaking and when working with my residents, I have such a passion for empowering them to cope with their stressors in positive ways and making each day count.  My personal and professional life following my time at UND is a reflection of how Dru's scholarship has weaved itself into my very being.  For that, I am forever grateful.     

I leave you with this quote that I often reflect on when I think about Dru and her legacy...and ultimately what I hope my life is a reflection of as well:"To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded."  -Ralph Waldo Emerson


Leah (Hoffbeck) Tennefos, ‘07
Stay-at-home mom with two young boys
Worked as a paralegal for a Fargo law firm for eight years     

 Spring 2018

 Winter 2017

 Spring 2018

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