Clifford A. Rae Awards Initiative Celebrates 10 years of Transforming BVU Lives, Communities
Alumni share the impact the Clifford A. Rae Academic Achievement Award made on their collegiate journey as 18 current students embark on opportunities of their own through the award.
Nine Buena Vista University business students and nine science students were selected for the Clifford A. Rae Academic Achievement Award for the 2020 calendar year.
It marks the 10-year anniversary for the awards, which range up to $5,000. The awards were created by two separate $750,000 endowments from the foundation established by Dr. Harold Walter Siebens and named after the longtime advisor and counsel to Siebens and the foundation, Clifford A. Rae.
The endowments support annual awards for up to three pre-qualified, academically high-performing BVU business and science students in each of their second, third, and fourth years of school.
In many instances, the awards allow a student to help defray costs associated with living arrangements through the course of an internship. The awards may also assist with expenses related to travel and lodging in an experiential learning initiative. Both types of experiences advance the education of BVU students, often shaping students to be leaders in the organizations and communities they serve upon their graduation from BVU.
“The Clifford A. Rae Academic Achievement Award was huge for me,” says Kyle Auffert, a 2013 BVU graduate who received his first Rae Award in the spring of 2011. “I took a semester off from school and worked for academic credit. That semester-long internship turned into a fulltime position I accepted right out of college.”
Auffert, a Clarinda native, used Rae funding to help pay rent at an apartment in Des Moines during his internship. The former BVU accounting major now serves as Director of Financial Reporting for Hy-Vee Corporate Office in West Des Moines.
Shelby Bleeker, a 2012 BVU graduate who majored in management and marketing, was on the cusp of accepting an unpaid internship serving the Ronald McDonald House in downtown Minneapolis as a junior in 2011.
“My family had moved away from the Twin Cities, so I was debating whether or not to do the internship, because I would have to get an apartment,” she recalls. “I knew the internship would be a great experience, but there was that financial piece I had to consider.”
The Clifford A. Rae Academic Achievement Award put Bleeker’s doubt to rest. The award allowed her to pay rent for her apartment throughout the internship, an experience that provided the foundation she needed to get started in her career. Bleeker now serves as a Human Resources Generalist in the Twin Cities.
Bleeker earned Clifford A. Rae funding the following year and used the award to help offset costs associated with a learning experience in Greece and Turkey.
“It was amazing for me to discover what I could do when I didn’t have to worry so much about resources,” she says.
“The Clifford A. Rae Academic Achievement Award provides a generous reward to students for their outstanding academic achievement in the previous year,” says Dr. Thom Bonagura, Dean of BVU’s School of Science and Associate Professor of Biology. “The pursuit of long-term academic excellence is specifically encouraged by the award through the selection of the highest achieving students based on their first-, second-, and third-year GPA, encouraging students to strive for excellence across their academic career. The Rae Award’s message that academic achievement should be rewarded is a tremendous affirmation for these fantastic students.”
The competitive program, which rewards business and science students who excel in their academic pursuits, is open to students who live in Iowa or adjacent states and who meet certain financial need guidelines. Students may receive the award more than once during their years at BVU.
In addition to enhanced undergraduate learning experiences, fourth-year students may also use the funds for graduate school applications, entrance/exam costs, or professional certification. Upon graduation, students can apply remaining award funds to pay down student loans.
“The Clifford A. Rae Academic Achievement Award was created by a generous donor to encourage academic excellence and promote healthy competition among our students,” says Lisa Kesting-Best, J.D., Dean of the Harold Walter Siebens School of Business. “The merit-based scholarship encourages students to excel by rewarding those who earn the top GPA among the applicants.”
“The pursuit of long-term academic excellence is specifically encouraged by the award through the selection of the highest achieving students based on their first-, second-, and third-year GPA, encouraging students to strive for excellence across their academic career.”
Dr. Thom Bonagura, Dean of BVU’s School of Science
The Clifford A. Rae Academic Achievement Award is but one example of how the generosity of BVU benefactors allows students to achieve the highest outcomes within their academic experience—a key reason why national rankings, such as those compiled by U.S. News & World Report, consistently have BVU among the top universities and colleges in the Midwest when it comes to “Best Value.”
“Seventy-five percent of financial aid awards at BVU come in the form of grants and scholarships, awards made possible because of the incredible generosity of our benefactors,” says Jared Bienemann, BVU Executive Director of Development. “The Clifford A. Rae Academic Achievement Award continues to change lives for the better for our students and the people and communities they will one day serve as leaders. This innovative awards program will once again have a truly transforming effect on more than a dozen BVU students this year, as it has since 2011.”
Here is a list of students who’ve earned the most recent Clifford A. Rae Academic Achievement Award:
Harold Walter Siebens School of Business winners:
Fourth-year winners: Andrew Klaassen, an accounting and agricultural business double-major from Pomeroy; Jayde Bastman, a financial decision making, accounting, and management triple-major from Greenville; and Tania Toj, a business, Spanish, and accounting triple-major from Postville.
Third-year winners: Justin Sparks, a sport business, management, and marketing triple-major from Glidden; Kelsey Roe, an accounting, business, and Spanish triple-major from Hayfield, Minn.; and Mary Barnes, a marketing major from Peterson.
Second-year winners: Mason Peterson an accounting and financial decision-making double-major from Alta; Jacie Teague, an accounting and agricultural business double-major from Sac City; and Caden Mathewson, an accounting and financial decision-making double-major from La Vista, Neb.
School of Science winners:
Fourth-year winners: Brayden Collins, a chemistry major from Thor; Tyler Freese, a computer science (math) and mathematics double-major from Council Bluffs; and Caleb Daughenbaugh, a computer science (IT) major from Bode.
Third-year winners: Anthony Baird, a biomedical sciences major from Moville; Jacob Hull, a computer science (systems) major from Alta; and Tabitha Guyett, a biomedical sciences and psychology double-major from Omaha, Neb.
Second-year winners: Brenden Schlader, a math education major from Huron, S.Dak.; Vanessa Hamlett, a computer science (math), computer science (IT), and mathematics triple-major from Aurora; and Kimber Sprout, a biology major from Sioux Falls, S.Dak.
Winners of the Clifford A. Rae Academic Achievement Award for the past 10 years are:
Harold Walter Siebens School of Business winners:
2011: Kyle Auffert ’13, Shelby Bleeker ’12, Jacob Heying ’11, Samantha Lewis ’11, Seth Lindokken ’13, Justus Harris ’13, Joseph Pearson ’12, Kelsey (Reitmeier) Feller ’12, Brianne (Sweeden) Kloewer ’11
2012: Kyle Auffert ’13, Shelby Bleeker ’12, Christian Cottingham ’14, Adam Drees ’14, Seth Lindokken ’13, Brock Loseke ’15, Justus Harris ’13, Joseph Pearson ’12, Kelsey (Reitmeier) Feller ’12
2013: Kyle Auffert ’13, Austin Bales ’16, Michael Boyle ’14, Adam Drees ’14, Justus Harris ’13, Amanda (Jamtgaard) Nolan ’14, Samantha Kavan ’15, Ashley (Lage) Lindquist ’14, Roseanna (Storbakken) Shulte ’13
2014: Michael Boyle ’14, Adam Cave ’15, Lacey Flugge ’14, Stephanie Hayden ’15, Amanda (Jamtgaard) Nolan ’14, Nereyda Manriquez ’15, Alec Sindelar ’16, Jordon Stief ’16
2015: Nereyda Manriquez ’15, Jordon Pilcher ’15, Jon Lietz ’16, Callie (Hoffman) Bral ’16, Alec Sindelar ’16, Neil Marshall ’16, Colin Hansen ’17, Mai Chee Yang ’17, Tanner Heckt ’17
2016: Keely Bycroft ’18, Colin Hansen ’17, Callie (Hoffman) Bral ’16, Nyajime Jangjuol, Sean Morgan ’17, Lan Nguyen ’17, Alec Sindelar ’16, Alexandra Wahlert ’18, Mai Chee Yang ’17
2017: Alan Maldonado ’19, Tara Harris ’19, Presley Shumate ’19, Alyssa (Kragelund) Petersen ’18, Keely Bycroft ’18, Alexander Spake ’18, Colin Hansen ’17, Amber Decker ’18, Chau Nguyen ’17
2018: Keely Bycroft ’18, Josh Demers ’19, Kolten Bader ’18, Aaron Nicolaisen ’19, Alan Maldonado ’19, Austin Demers ’19, Alexis Keller ’20, Chelsea Hildenbrand ’20, Nikolas Brimeyer ’20
2019: Aaron Nicolaisen ’19, Katelyn Wuebker ’19, Jacob Heath ’19, Chelsea Hildenbrand ’20, Payton Yilek ’20, Shayla Brown ’20, Jayde Bastman, Tyler Lohr, Jake Danner
2020: Shayla Brown ’20, Alexis Keller ’20, Tyler Tennyson, Jared Remar, Jake Danner, Tania Toj, Justin Sparks, Kristopher Mintle, Kennedy Brokaw
School of Science winners:
2014: Andrew Gisch, Kayla (Hartmann) Sibigtroth ’14, Megan Long ’15, Carolyn McDermott ’16, Kelsey Mitchell ’15, Lan Nguyen ’17, Tesia (Posekany) Dennison ’14, Miranda Wallace ’16, Jennifer Welch ’14
2015: Kelsey Mitchell ’15, John Bieber ’15, Breannah (Krips) Suntken ’15, Lan Nguyen ’17, Miguel Rodriguez ’15, Carolyn McDermott ’16, Sarah Schlichte ’17, Jaelyn (Daggs-Olson) Pulkrabek ’17, Michelle (Clinesmith) Begnoche ’17
2016: Michelle (Clinesmith) Begnoche ’17, Joseph Hindman ’16, Christian Kladstrup ’18, Emma Konkler ’18, Blake Laursen ’16, Carolyn McDermott ’16, Jaelyn (Daggs-Olson) Pulkrabek ’17, Sarah Schlichte ’17, Dong Wang ’18
2017: Aaron Nicolaisen ’19, Meghan Bissen ’19, Emma Konkler ’18, Christian Kladstrup ’18, Tanner Cook ’18, Tarynne Kinghorn ’17, Carly Ouverson ’17, Sarah Schlichte ’17
2018: Emma Konkler ’18, Dong Wang ’18, Devin Stane ’18, Meghan Bissen ’19, Kimberly Hults ’19, Brittany Fisher ’19, Rebecca Peters ’20, Tonia Henning ’20, Michaela Mason
2019: Meghan Bissen ’19, Kimberly Hults ’19, Matthew Swanson ’19, Rebecca Peters ’20, Yulisa Vazquez ’20, Megan Wassom ’20, Brayden Collins, Elizabeth Reiva, Caleb Daughenbaugh
2020: Megan Wassom ’20, Yulisa Vazquez ’20, Brayden Collins, Jacob Hull, Anthony Baird, Nicole Schuppan, Christina Jackson