(Matt Holm is the recipient this year of the Saul Morse and Anne Morgan Scholarship which supports students in the College of Public Affairs and Administration.)
My name is Matt Holm, and I’m a Senior here at UIS double majoring in Legal Studies and Political Science. I also hold a position on Student Government as the Senator for the College of Public Affairs and Administration. I came here last Fall as a transfer student from Rock Valley College in Rockford, Illinois, where I earned my Associate’s Degree.
I chose to come to the University of Illinois at Springfield because of this school’s outstanding educational opportunities, networks, and influence in the field of public and governmental affairs.
As a student with the intent to pursue law school, I feel strongly that my undergraduate coursework here has prepared me for the next step of my educational career. I have developed strong relationships with my professors, who have not only been approachable and helpful, but have actually tried to get to know me, something that I know doesn’t necessarily happen at other schools, especially public universities. Class is the kind of personal environment where if you miss a class, the professor will notice, and you’ll probably get an email asking if you’re alright, which is kind of nice.
The size of this campus also makes it easy and a lot of fun to become involved with student life activities. There are a wide variety of clubs and organizations for students to get involved in, and I’ve even had the opportunity to be involved in the formation of two clubs which are new to campus this semester: the American Red Cross Student Organization and the Innocence Club, a student support organization for the Innocence Project movement.
The Innocence Project is an international movement that works to exonerate prisoners who have been wrongfully convicted for crimes that they did not commit. This University is fortunate to house the Illinois Innocence Project.
The Applied Study Term here has given me the opportunity to be interning with the Project this semester for credit, and the school also helped me secure an internship with the office of U.S. Senator Dick Durbin over this last summer.
I also took the LSAT this summer, and I am currently in the process of applying to law school. I know that my relationships with professors and advisors here has made the process of application much easier, and the advising and programs of the PreLaw Center have been incredibly helpful.
Just yesterday, a group of other pre-law students and I participated in a law school fair event at the Urbana campus that was facilitated by the PreLaw Center and its Director, Suzanne Borland, who is also a professor in the Legal Studies Department. As a result of the guidance that I have received from the supportive and engaged faculty on this campus, I feel confident not only in my choice to pursue law school, but with the University of Illinois degree I am working to achieve I am confident in my application and that I can get in.
But funding my education has been an issue at every step of the way. My family has been able to partially support me through community college, but going further even at a state school puts a burden on my family that is definitely felt.
while I was at Rock Valley College, there was a period where I was working three different part time jobs in order to earn enough money, on top of taking more than a full-time course load at 18 credit hours and holding a seat on student government there.
When I started here at UIS, I worked a part-time job for a few months to help ease some of my financial burden. I am so grateful for the scholarship I received, because as a result of it, I have been able to not only focus on my schoolwork, but take on unpaid internships that offer amazing opportunities for experience and exposure through Senator Durbin’s office and the Innocence Project.
I want to thank Mr. Morse and Dr. Morgan for their generous gifts that have contributed to my scholarship, and on behalf of all scholarship recipients I want to express my gratitude to all donors who are here this afternoon. Your generosity is appreciated, and your thoughtfulness in contributing to these scholarships truly does make a difference in the lives of students. Thank you.
Please consider your own scholarship at UIS. Learn more about a special 1:1 match opportunity through the Access Illinois Scholarship Initiative.