By continuing to use this site, you agree to the use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy.

The Impact of Giving

Students share how scholarships and alumni connections provide opportunities for academic success.

Izzy Hong ’22: The Path to Success

Isabella Hong '22 sitting.

“I felt really appreciative of the educational, internship and networking opportunities that Syracuse has given me,” says advertising major and entrepreneur Isabelle “Izzy” Hong ’22.

Isabelle “Izzy” Hong ’22 is a creative entrepreneur who launched an online jewelry shop in 2021 and soon found she loved advertising. “I like media strategy mixed with creative,” she says. She leveraged what she learned in her classes at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications to grow her business, merging advertising with social media marketing and branding.

Hong received a scholarship to support her academic endeavors. She says scholarships are about more than the donations—they’re about creating opportunities. “Scholarships make Syracuse a more diverse, rich place. Donating to a scholarship that can directly support somebody who might not have the same prospects as someone else is really powerful.”

As a member of the Forever Orange Student Alumni Council, Hong shares her appreciation for the many opportunities that Syracuse has given her to connect directly with alumni. “I joined the Forever Orange Student Alumni Council because I felt really appreciative of the educational, internship and networking opportunities that Syracuse has given me.”

Scholarships make Syracuse a more diverse, rich place. Donating to a scholarship that can directly support somebody who might not have the same prospects as someone else is really powerful.

—Izzy Hong ’22

Hong’s goal is to work in media planning after graduation, and she has amassed impressive experiences to help her with her ambitions, including an internship at the New York Post’s social media division. She’s also the media director of Syracuse’s team for the American Advertising Federation National Student Advertising Competition. “I’m learning from my involvement and also getting a ton of great experience.”

MaryKate Krege ’22: Designing a Future

Growing up in the Albany area, MaryKate Krege ’22 saw several of her cousins attend Syracuse University and it seemed like she was destined to attend Syracuse too. “My first Halloween costume was a Syracuse University cheerleader,” she says.

MaryKate Krege '22 writing.

School of Architecture graduate MaryKate Krege ’22 says her academic experience was enriched by the scholarships she received, including the Connie Caldwell Summer Internship Award, which helped with her summer internship expenses.

Now, Krege is finishing up her last weeks as an undergraduate in the School of Architecture and will be moving to New York City after graduation to work for Gensler, an architecture firm with 50 offices worldwide. She credits the strength of the school’s undergraduate program and Syracuse’s vast alumni network for her opportunities. “I’ve been able to develop pretty close relationships with some alumni and get true mentorship,” Krege says.

Her academic experience was enriched by the scholarships she received, among them the Connie Caldwell Summer Internship Award, a gift made by the deGraffenried Foundation to assist with her summer internship expenses. She says scholarships allowed her to pursue her studies with less stress about financing her education.

The scholarships I’ve received have meant more to me than just the financial support. It’s about the feeling of being connected with the University.

—MaryKate Krege ’22

Also meaningful for Krege was being named a Remembrance Scholar, which honors the 35 students who were killed in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. It is one of the highest awards a Syracuse University student can receive. “Being a Remembrance Scholar taught me to be more present,” she says.

For the last four years, Krege has worked for Telefund, the phone-based component of the Fund for Syracuse. It’s a fun experience for Krege because she gets to connect with alumni of all ages. It’s also opened her eyes to why alumni give back to the University. “The scholarships I’ve received have meant more to me than just the financial support. It’s about the feeling of being connected with the University,” she says.

Ben Piers ’22: Capturing His Vision

You’ll usually find Ben Piers ’22 with a camera in his hand. The art video major in the College of Visual and Performing Arts enjoys making documentaries and hopes to work for a production company after graduating. “I love the behind-the-scenes work.”

Ben Piers sitting at desk with camera.

Art video major and Syracuse University Libraries employee Ben Piers ’22 received a student employee scholarship and says that scholarships take a weight off the shoulders of students and their families.

Piers recently received a student employee scholarship from Syracuse University Libraries, where he’s worked for three years, and he has seen how important scholarships been for others, too. “Receiving scholarships from your university is like a weight off your shoulder,” Piers explains. “It means you can fully concentrate on academics. Donors help ease a lot of the stress on students and parents when it comes to financing your future. Gifts from donors make higher education attainable.”

Fashion photography is also a passion of Piers’. He’s taken a fashion video class in the Newhouse School and works for Jerk Magazine, a Syracuse University student-run general interest magazine. As a transfer student, Piers was determined to take advantage of every opportunity and to gain as much experience as possible at Syracuse. That included becoming an orientation leader, working for Syracuse University Libraries and interning for American High, a production company based in Syracuse. He also honed his creative skills as a member of First Year Players, a student-run musical theater organization. Whether behind the camera or on stage, Piers is ready to take action.

Receiving scholarships from your university is like a weight off your shoulder. It means you can fully concentrate on academics.

—Ben Piers ’22

Tia Thevenin ’18, L’23: Pushing Beyond Boundaries

For Tia Thevenin ’18, L’23, giving back to Syracuse University is imperative. “It’s an obligation that I feel to myself.”

Tia Thevenin '18.

Tia Thevenin ’18, L’23 received a full academic athletic scholarship as an undergraduate. The dual J.D./MBA student says that scholarships transform lives.

Thevenin, currently in her second year at the College of Law, ran for the track and field team as an undergraduate at Syracuse after receiving a full academic athletic scholarship. “The scholarship afforded me the ability to think freely, be more flexible, experience more things and take more risks,” says Thevenin, who earned a bachelor of science degree in psychology in the College of Arts and Science.

As scholarship recipient, Thevenin is grateful to those whose donations made possible the experiences she’s had at Syracuse University. “Scholarships allow students to maximize the experiences in the classroom and beyond. They end up transforming lives. What students can do is limitless when they have support.” She says the donors are some of the most altruistic people she’s ever met. “Donors just want to see students flourish. I don’t think there’s anything more selfless than that.”

Scholarships allow students to maximize the experiences in the classroom and beyond it and end up transforming our lives. What students can do is limitless when they have support.

—Tia Thevenin ’18, L’23

Originally from Canada, Thevenin plans to practice corporate law in New York City following her graduation next year. A dual J.D./MBA student, Thevenin is also working on earning a master’s degree in business administration from the Martin J. Whitman School of Management. She says more than anything, her career as an athlete prepared her for the coursework of both rigorous programs. “Being prepared to face challenges and push your mind to new heights are lessons I learned from my time running track.”

David Williams ’22: Powerful Connections

Portrait of David Williams '22.

Remembrance Scholar and policy studies major David Williams ’22, who starts his job as a strategy consultant at IBM after graduation, says that the Remembrance Scholarship allowed him to establish a connection to the University and to other students through service.

David Williams ’22, a policy studies major at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, came to Syracuse University to pursue a pre-med track. An impactful conversation with the policy studies professor Bill Coplin changed his trajectory. After graduation, Williams will begin his role as a strategy consultant at IBM.

He gained meaningful experience when he interned with Kelsey May ’17 in the City of Syracuse’s digital services department and forged other significant relationships through his involvement with the Forever Orange Student Alumni Council. He says his participation allowed him to feel connected to the University community and other students through service.

That connection was reinforced by his experience as a Remembrance Scholar. “Remembrance allows us to celebrate stories to establish a connection and sense of belonging on campus,” Williams says. “It’s important to recognize the uniqueness each of us bring to the community while we are here.”

Giving is an opportunity to show others that there are no limits to what you can achieve at Syracuse University—the only thing that can limit you is yourself.

—David Williams ’22

Williams, who received both an Invest in SUccess scholarship and a scholarship to fund his thesis work, says that giving back through scholarships is important. “Giving serves as a reminder of our roots, and it also allows us to become the root for someone else on a similar path,” he says. “Giving is an opportunity to show others that there are no limits to what you can achieve at Syracuse University—the only thing that can limit you is yourself.”

Lisa Maresca

This story was published on .

Also of Interest