As Agnes Kowalski began her senior year, she knew well the importance of working hard. It’s evident in her academic record to be sure, a reflection of a lesson she learned long ago from watching her immigrant parents.

Kowalski is a first-generation American and a first-generation college student. Her parents immigrated to the U.S. from Poland in the early 1990s. Her dad came over first, followed by her mom a year later. Her mother is a teacher working in a government-sponsored program for low-income and single mothers. Her father works in manufacturing.

“I definitely learned from them about having to work for something,” said Kowalski, who completed an internship at State Farm over the summer.

“I was the Office of Privacy intern in the Enterprise Compliance and Ethics Department,” she said. “I learned a lot and worked with really great people. It was definitely a great experience.”

At 21, this Schaumburg native is ambitious. She’s working on a double major—international business and finance, with a Spanish minor. She speaks English and Polish with native proficiency.

As a result of all her hard work, Kowalski is the recipient of the Kenneth T. Sr. and Deborah A. Glover Endowed Scholarship. Ken and Debbie (Hypke) Glover established the scholarship in 2011 as a way to further their mission of supporting education and helping others. Qualified applicants demonstrate academic and personal achievement with specific requirements determined annually by the College of Business Dean’s Office based on the recruiting and retention needs of the College.

“The Ken and Deborah Glover endowed scholarship is a wonderful example of how the generosity of our donors helps our students attend Illinois State University while reducing their reliance on student loans,” said former COB Interim Dean Gerry McKean. “I have seen firsthand how Ken’s and Deborah’s gifts of their time and their treasures have had a significant impact on the lives of the students they mentor and support financially. The College of Business is most appreciative of their investment in our students.”

Ken and Debbie are both 1973 Illinois State graduates. He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration, while Debbie majored in elementary education. He retired after a 35-year career with ExxonMobil Corporation. Debbie taught school until they began a family. They have three grown children.

One of Kowalski’s favorite things about being awarded the scholarship was getting to meet the couple.

“The Glovers are fantastic,” Kowalski said. “They are Redbirds to the core. They are role models of what I could be in the future. They didn’t have to give back, but they chose to.”