A scholarship means many things to University of Northern Iowa students. For Katie Knudsen, it meant she wasn’t alone.
This was evident when Knudsen, a Roy J. Carver Scholarship recipient, attended a banquet honoring the scholarship awardees.
“The banquet was an eye opening experience,” said Knudsen. “It was amazing to look around the room and know I’m not alone. Although I didn’t know the obstacles most of these individuals had overcome, I knew they had experienced some sort of obstacle in their life.
The Roy J. Carver Scholarship is awarded to students who have faced a challenging life, social or learning situation and are required to write an essay about the barrier they overcame. Knudsen, a native of Carroll, Iowa, wrote about losing her mother to cancer at age 11.
Knudsen considered her mom to be her biggest cheerleader, and found it difficult to discover the motivation to succeed and push herself after her death.
“One of my biggest struggles is that when times get hard for me I often think nobody else understands, but this scholarship is living proof that there are so many people out there facing obstacles, many that are even very similar to me,” Knudsen said.
Knudsen has overcome her struggles and has found inspiration in her mother.
“I’ve hit a point where I realize I need to pursue all my goals and dreams for not only myself, but for my mom as well,” said Knudsen. “She may not be here physically, but she will always be a part of my life and if I can be successful I know I’ll be making her proud. Everyone faces obstacles, some big and some small, but the way in which you go about overcoming those obstacles is what defines what kind of life you’re going to live.”
Knudsen studied Public Relations at UNI and was also involved in the university’s Colleges Against Cancer chapter, helping plan the American Cancer Society Relay For Life.
Interested in providing opportunities for students like Knudsen? Visit uni-foundation.org to learn how you can make a difference.
“Although I have faced many obstacles and continue to face obstacles, I know there are plenty of people out there overcoming bigger battles than me,” Knudsen said. “I will continue to work hard, and I hope to someday be able to help people facing larger battles than me just like these donors were able to help me.”