U of M Awards Six Disability Scholarships

On September 9, 2005, six students received Robert and Gail Buuck Scholarships for Disability Services at a reception at the University of Minnesota’s Disabled Students Cultural Center.

After learning in a newspaper article last fall that the University of Minnesota did not have scholarships for students with disabilities, U of M Alumnus Robert Buuck and his wife Gail gave the university’s Office of Disability Services $100,000 to establish an endowed scholarship fund. The purpose of the Buuck Family Fund is to provide access to higher education, opportunities for enhancing or supporting learning, and support for guidance or training in the development of self-advocacy and leadership for students with disabilities at the University of Minnesota.

”The Buucks’ donation was a very generous gift,” said Bobbi Cordano, director of the university’s Office of Disability Services. “As our endowment fund grows, we hope to use some of this money for programming purposes, such as increasing opportunities that enhance or support learning, and offering guidance or training in leadership development and transition from college to work. There are not very many disability offices at universities around the country that have funds for students with disabilities. We are emerging as one of the few that have such funds in the United States.”

The six Buuck Scholars are:

Jenna Aalund, a North Dakota resident, received her second scholarship from the Buuck Family fund. A recipient of one of the first Buuck scholarships awarded in 2004, Aaland plans on majoring in biomedical engineering with the long-term goal of attending medical school. Aaland said that medicine has been her passion since the age of 5. She is employed part-time, works as a medical volunteer serving the needs of the underprivileged, and hopes to participate in cardiac research work at the Mayo Clinic during the summer months.

Rachel Garaghty, also a 2004 Buuck recipient, was appointed the undergraduate representative to the University Senate Committee on Disability Issues after her first semester at the university. She is also a board member and secretary of the Disabled Student Cultural Center. Garaghty is planning to graduate with a degree in political science with an emphasis in international policy. She then intends to attend law school and pursue a doctorate degree.

John Lukanen, a junior at the university, has recently completed his first year as the co-director of the Disabled Student Cultural Center (DSCC). Under his leadership, DSCC has dramatically increased membership and board size as well as event participation. Recently, Lukanen spearheaded a new disability awareness campaign, which will run through Spring 2006. He hopes to attend law school and work in the corporate world.

Kaitlin Moore, a recent graduate of White Bear Lake Area High School, has been described as a top student who was very involved with her school and community. While in high school, Moore was a member of the National Honor Society and also participated in the Art Club, German Club, Math Team and Mentorship Connection. For the past few months, she has been an intern in a neuroscience research laboratory and intends to major in neuroscience. Her career goal is to become a neurosurgeon.

Monica Myers, a sophomore, is currently designing a Bachelor of Individualized Studies program that will combine classes on public health, cultural studies and the history of medicine. Her decision to merge these three areas comes from a belief that throughout history every culture has contributed great wisdom to healing and preventing disease. She is preparing for a career in medicine and healing.

Shade Osifuye is completing her sophomore year. She intends to enter the medical technology program in the School of Medicine, with the eventual goal of becoming a pathologist. Osifuye was inspired to enter the field of medicine after witnessing the success of a doctor who has a similar disability.