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The Pursuit of Purpose

Student discovers purpose through endowed scholarship

The Pursuit of Purpose

Sophomore Kevin Kern nearly failed middle school math.

“I struggled through math class for those three years,” Kern said. “But I knew I was good at it.”

As high school approached, Kern tested into an advanced math course. The only freshman in a junior class, he was encouraged by a teacher that helped make things click.

Now, Kern is studying mathematics and computer science—a passion discovered at Michigan State—at the colleges of Natural Science and Engineering. Kern is also a member of the Honors College.

“Every company needs a data analyst or someone building the program that sorts the data,” Kern admitted. “I want to work with a purpose and I know that I’ll come out of Michigan State prepared to accomplish big things.”

Making the Dream Work

The recipient of a George W. Petersen Scholarship, Kern openly discusses the effect scholarships are having on him.

“In case donors may not hear or feel the gratitude students have for them, I’d like to tell them how thankful I am,” Kern said. “I really hope they know that my future is going to be better because of them.”

Established in 2010 as a result of the Spartan Scholarship Challenge, the Petersen Scholarship is one of 17 endowed scholarships established by Dr. James Billman (’69, Natural Science/Honors College)—support which has grown over time to assist 93 students. 

A Spartan to the core, Billman believes students who are able and ambitious need the opportunity to pursue an education.

“Really, anyone can endow a scholarship to support a student in a specific major, in a certain college, or from a certain area or high school,” Billman said. “Endowed scholarships can be funded over five years and will support generations of Spartans, forever.”

Learn more about how endowments work.

Author: Sarah Wardell

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