ST. GEORGE — The Utah Business Women of St. George awarded four scholarships to Dixie State University students Tuesday and invited the wife of DSU’s president to give a keynote address for their monthly luncheon.
Kristin Williams, DSU’s first lady, shared an anecdote about a time when her son got lost riding his bike home. Some time later, her son asked her if she wanted to see where he had ended up. Surprised, she asked him how he knew where he had gone if he had been lost.
“He said these words, and I think they’re pretty profound for a 12-year-old; he said, ‘I wasn’t lost. I knew where I was but I didn’t know how to get to where I wanted to be,’” she said.
Williams related her son’s statement to life in general, especially for college students.
“There are so many students that are first-generation college students and are struggling to know where to go and how to get there,” she said. “When I see these students and I see them being successful, I want to tell them, ‘You have no idea the impact you’re having on many generations.’”
Williams encouraged the ladies of the UBW to mentor students who need help figuring out college life.
Williams asked the women to mentor the students who received scholarships from them at the luncheon, and also mentioned there is a program in the works at Dixie State to match students who need help with mentors in the community.
Williams invited Olga Ivanenko, a DSU student, to share her story with the women.
Ivanenko, a violinist, grew up in Kiev, Ukraine, but moved to the U.S. when she was 17, shortly after her mother died.
When she first came to the U.S., Ivanenko said, her father and older brother were able to support her financially and mentally, until the war in the Ukraine started.
She said she came here to live her dreams, one of which is to share her music with others.
“My mom was also a musician, and when I play, I feel her dreams joining mine,” she said.
Ivanenko performed for members of the UBW.
After the keynote address, Blanca Martineau, nominations chair for the UBW of St. George, announced the recipients of this year’s scholarships, which all went to DSU students.
One recipient of a $1,000 scholarship, Maegan Pato, said she is trying to get through college debt free by applying for scholarships, but that this one especially called to her.
“I really reached out to this one due to the fact that it encourages women to pursue business degrees,” she said.
A recipient of a $500 scholarship, Camie Nelson, said she felt blessed to receive the scholarship, as she was doing her best to put herself through school.
The other two recipients were Brooklyn Morris and Shaunnae Bateman.
Williams praised the recipients, calling them incredible women.
“It’s amazing to see the great things that girls are doing, that women are doing, and especially as they’re getting an education and how important it is to them, so I just love that. I love hearing all of these stories,” Williams said.
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