The Chamber Blog

Scholarships to Students who Return to Southwest Nebraska

Many community-based affiliated funds include scholarship accounts. But scholarships shouldn't be a one-way ticket out of town; they should be a round trip ticket for kids to eventually return home. Where appropriate, scholarship committees may want to reassess their guidelines.

In 2011, Jordan Pick and Emily Wood were the first students to benefit from the newly formed Nelson Hometown Scholarship program, which awards scholarships of at least $1,500 or more annually. The fund was established by Senator Ben Nelson. Applicants must attend the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis, Mid-Plains Community College in McCook or North Platte, or the University of Nebraska-Kearney.

Importantly, they must express a sincere desire to return to southwest Nebraska sometime in the future. Now, four years later, Jordan and Emily have not moved back to McCook-yet-but they are working their way home in the foreseeable future. Jordan graduated from UNK with an early childhood education degree which allows her to teach young children up to third grade. She has applied for a teaching position in McCook. Jordan is also working on setting up a 501(c)(3) non-profit with the intent of helping military families. She is currently in the process of filing the paperwork.

Emily graduated from UNK as an English major with a Business Administration minor. She will attend law school at UNL. She is no longer eligible for the renewable scholarship, but she plans to return to McCook to practice law with her father, County Attorney Paul Wood.

"They are exactly what I had hoped we would have for the Nelson Hometown Scholarship program - to get their education where necessary and to return to their roots in Southwest Nebraska," Senator Nelson said.

Nebraska Community Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, serves communities, organizations and donors throughout Nebraska.