UNO Fund Student Scholarship Stories – Reagan Folda

As a student in the Sign Language Interpreting program at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Reagan Folda understands the importance of a clear and simple message. She wants UNO alumni to clearly understand this: Their gifts to the UNO Fund scholarship have changed her life.

“I am extremely grateful that I got this scholarship,” she said. “It brought me a lot of relief when I needed it during stressful times.”

Reagan is one of eight promising students who this fall was awarded a UNO Fund scholarship, receiving financial assistance thanks to the generosity of alumni and others who have contributed to the UNO Fund.

While UNO offers many scholarships, the UNO Fund for Student Scholarships is the only one that sees hundreds of alumni and supporters come together and make gifts — last year gifts ranged from $5 to $15,000 — to give directly back to students. Thanks to UNO Fund donors, UNO was able to offer Reagan a renewable scholarship to cover much of her tuition through her expected graduation in December 2024.

Reagan grew up in Schuyler, Nebraska, and after graduating from high school in 2019 she attended Central Community College as a student-athlete, playing soccer. However, after a year there, she felt drawn to a bigger city environment and started looking at transfer options. She transferred to Metropolitan Community College (MCC), where she majored in liberal arts.

While at MCC, Reagan took an ASL class and fell in love with the language. After a year at MCC, Reagan earned her associate degree. She then transferred to UNO to become a speech pathologist; however, she decided to change her major to become a sign language interpreter.

“I love learning about the Deaf community and American Sign Language,” Reagan said. “I think everyone should learn more about Deaf culture and ASL.”

Reagan has been impressed with the classes, people and campus at UNO, and she said she has found it a good fit for all the experiences she was hoping to receive from her college education.

“The campus is really nice,” Reagan said. “You feel very at home here, and the people are so awesome. I wanted a bigger city to live in, but it’s also just an hour from my hometown.”

Reagan also said she would enjoy working in the educational setting assisting children who are Deaf and hard of hearing. She hopes to pursue a career as an educational interpreter.

“I am considering getting my master’s in Deaf education,” Reagan added. “Right now, I am leaning toward becoming an educational interpreter, but there are many opportunities for me to think about.”

Reagan said she felt immediate relief this fall when she learned she would be receiving the UNO Fund scholarship.

“Transferring from Metro, it’s a price change, so I was nervous about that, but the scholarship really was a relief,” she said. “I was really grateful. I was nervous about taking out too much of a FAFSA loan, so I didn’t have to take out as much because I have the scholarship. And the scholarship is renewable, so that was really nice, too.”

In addition to taking classes at UNO, Reagan works as a nanny to help pay her living expenses and tuition. She said the UNO Fund scholarship has helped to ease some of those financial burdens. It also allowed her to find the right major without having to worry about adding additional semesters and incurring an even greater tuition bill.

“I get to focus more on my schoolwork,” she said. “I have a nanny job where I only work two days a week, which is nice. If I did not have this scholarship, I would probably have to find a second job, so it has been wonderful.”

In addition to expressing her gratitude, Reagan encouraged UNO alumni to consider giving back to this scholarship in an amount that makes sense to them. She said she knows firsthand that the gifts are being used to help students who want to make a positive impact in their communities.

“The people who have the UNO Fund scholarship, and anyone who graduates from UNO, they go out and do great things,” she said, “so I think it is a really good thing to donate to the UNO Fund scholarship. I know when I’m an alumnus, I’ll try to do it too for sure, because it helped me, and I want to give back, too.”

You can help bring more students like Reagan to UNO. The more people who give, the more scholarships we can award to students who need and deserve them. Make your gift of $25, $50,$100 or more to the UNO Fund today.

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