Each month we recognize a few of the many amazing students and alumni who have been impacted by our donors’ generosity.  Meet five students and one alum who have benefited from your support.

Student Derek Zimmerman Meet Derek Zimmerman: A scholarship recipient and past participant in the Startup Showcase, he recently performed at the Tasty Tour, a traveling dinner event for members of the 1857 Society. Zimmerman’s company, Tubazimm, is where he shares his love of playing the tuba with others and offers music lessons within the community to help others reach their music potential.

“I wrote my first arrangement for low brass in junior high school, ‘Penny Lane’ for two euphoniums and a tuba. I did this because I wanted to play the music I was listening to on my iPod, but couldn’t find the right instrumentation. I decided I would figure out how to arrange the music myself,” Zimmerman said of his hobby turned business, “This became something I really got into in high school. I formed the Bottom Line Tuba quartet, so we could play music that was popular to us and fun for an audience. We did arrangements of Star Trek into Darkness, a theme from the Hobbit soundtrack, a Sam Smith cover and more.”Student Josie EhlbeckOur students embrace proactivity and take initiative to help others. Meet Josie Ehlbeck: A chemistry education major with aspirations to teach after graduation. As an undergrad, Ehlbeck is furthering her love of chemistry by researching ways to combat Parkinson’s disease. Ehlbeck is a recipient of the Presidential Scholarship and the Sol Shulman Scholarship. Both scholarships have helped move her closer to her goals.

Alumna Joanna Davis

Our students’ successes don’t go unnoticed by the world. Meet Joanna Davis ’18, owner of Designs by Anna J. The tools ISU provided her with include two scholarships and countless connections. Designs by Anna J is an impressive small business model that Joanna created from her residence hall. African designs mixed with traditional and modern looks are Davis’ specialty, and her fashion business has been growing in many ways. This month she will even travel to Ghana to expand further. The students who attend Illinois State, past and present, make a significant impact in the world and it’s impressive to see them in action.Student Kathleen Cleary and fianceMost students, like Kathleen Cleary, are eager to find scholarships that meet their interests and experiences. Cleary is a non-traditional student in the sense that she does not travel back “home” for the holidays, and she and her fiancé support themselves financially. Cleary is pursuing a degree in elementary education, with the hope of becoming an elementary school teacher. The scholarship that Cleary received is helping to alleviate some of her financial burdens.Student Ema KolbWith the dream of traveling all over the world and gaining new experiences, Ema Kolb has been hard at work obtaining her recreation management degree. Her work ethic and dedication to her studies enabled her to receive a scholarship that helps her focus on what she loves and get the most out of her college experience. Kolb currently juggles three jobs in addition to being a full-time student, so there’s no doubt she’s bound to do great things upon graduation.Dan ObertMeet Dan Obert: Last summer, Obert completed an internship with the Rockford Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau where he focused on marketing and communication for the city of Rockford. Dan is an agriculture communication major whose goal upon graduation is to work on marketing campaigns for agricultural companies or tourism organizations. Obert recently received the Excellence in Agricultural Fund, allowing him to buckle down and make the most of his last year here at ISU.

To support students like these through contributions to Redbirds Rising:  The Campaign for Illinois State, visit Giving.IllinoisState.ed