Scholarships make a world of difference, says student who now speaks Spanish
‘I want you to know that your support changes lives,’ UNL recipient tells Burnett Society members.
It’s crazy, she said, how one experience can change the trajectory of an entire life.
“When I started my undergraduate degree in 2007, I had three siblings also at UNL,” Teresa Lostroh told a crowd of about 100 University of Nebraska donors the other day in Lincoln at the annual Burnett Society Lunch. “It wasn’t the best time for farming, which is what my dad does, yet my parents were committed to putting their children – all six of us – through college.
“Fortunately, I was awarded several scholarships. Without having to worry about my parents paying tuition, fees or room and board, I started thinking big – beyond Nebraska, beyond the United States.”
The summer after her freshman year, Lostroh spent five weeks in Spain on a language-immersion trip.
“That wouldn’t have been a possibility if it weren’t for your philanthropic support,” she told the donors – members of the Burnett Society, which is a University of Nebraska Foundation giving society made up of people who plan to leave a gift to the university in their will.
She explained how that trip helped her grow in independence, global awareness and cultural competency. She was a journalism major. That trip inspired her to add Spanish as a second major.
She then spent a semester in Costa Rica, living with a host family, to help grow closer to Spanish fluency, and by the end of the four months she found herself translating for visitors “and having strangely in-depth conversations with taxi drivers.”
That trip, she said, also was made possible through her scholarships.
After graduating in 2011, she moved to Spain and taught English in a public school for two years in a tiny town. She realized that international education was a field that suited her well.
Lostroh has come full circle.
She’s now back at UNL pursuing a master’s degree in higher-education administration. She is a graduate assistant in New Student Enrollment, where she helps coordinate orientation for international students and helps them in their transition to UNL. She also helps teach a course for international students that focuses on U.S. culture and education.
She’ll graduate next May.
She told the donors about a tagline she saw recently that promotes UNL’s College of Journalism and Mass Communications:
Start here, go anywhere.
“And that’s what your generosity enables students to do,” she said. “UNL provides the essential foundation. It’s here that I learned how to analyze Spanish literature and to write a nut graph. It was out there, through my study-abroad experiences and journalism internships, that I had the opportunity to apply that knowledge in a broader context.”
This was Lostroh’s second time speaking at this luncheon, held this year at the Embassy Suites (and followed by a tour of UNL’s Center for Brain, Biology and Behavior). She also spoke as a freshman seven years ago.
Organizers of the luncheon invited her back because they thought it’d be interesting for Burnett Society members to see how scholarship assistance has continued to affect her life.
“I’ve seen a lot of the world, but I’ve come back to The Good Life,” Lostroh said. “I wouldn’t be back at UNL if I didn’t believe this university offers an education of exceptional value.
“Whether your generosity is the impetus for a student enrolling at the university or experiencing a culture beyond it, I want you all to know that your support changes lives.
“That’s certainly what it’s done for me.”
If you would like to join the Burnett Society or learn more about it, please contact the University of Nebraska Foundation’s Kim Waller at 402-458-1144 or 800-432-3216.