Jessica White, UPD Grant Recipient

“I am convinced that living in Peru for a month has helped transform me into the young woman that I am today.”

Jessica White, currently a sophomore at Illinois State, was a freshman in 2016 when she applied for an Undergraduate Professional Development (UPD) grant.

“Going to Peru seemed like an unattainable dream, until the University Professional Development Grant helped make it a reality,” White said.

“Before I went to Peru, I was close-minded in some areas of my life. But as I engaged with people from different walks of life my perspective changed and I began to enjoy being challenged and stretched out of my comfort zone. My professor constantly reminded us that Peru was our classroom and the Peruvians are our teachers. One thing that the Peruvian people taught me is that success is not measured by the things that you have, but by what you have in your heart. I am convinced that living in Peru for a month has helped transform me into the young woman that I am today.”

The University College Undergraduate Professional Development grant has been awarded to over 70 students over the past 10 years. The purpose of the grant is to encourage and support cutting-edge educational experiences for underrepresented undergraduate students. The program provides supplemental funding for research, internships, conferences and study abroad experiences.

“These activities have a proven record of having an indelible impact on the academic and professional journeys of our students” says Christa Platt, coordinator and chair of the Undergraduate Professional Development grant committee.

The Undergraduate Professional Development grant provides financial assistance to undergraduate students who:

  • Are enrolled full-time during the current academic year
  • Are in good academic standing
  • Have a demonstrated financial need
  • Are a first generation student or are in a group traditionally underrepresented in higher education

Individuals who are eligible and awarded the UPD grant may use the funds to supplement any costs associated with participating in an academic conference, study abroad programs, internship program (housing or travel expenses or faculty-supervised undergraduate research projects.

Interested students are encouraged to submit their application and supporting documentation by October 27 for maximum consideration from the UPD grant committee.

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