Catching up with Wilson Scholar Jenna Meyer

Jenna Meyer, the very first Wilson Scholar, jumps with joy celebrating her achievement with the newly presented award. PHOTO BY JONATHAN MEYER

Although Jenna Meyer is quiet, her newest accomplishment speaks volumes. A member of the STC Class of 2024, Meyer was awarded the newly established David W. Wilson Scholars Endowed Fund Scholarship from the University of Northern Iowa. The scholarship covers tuition, room and board, fees, and includes bonuses for the recipient.

The newly created scholarship comes off the heels of a $25 million donation to the University from David Wilson, a 1966 graduate of North Tama High School and 1970 graduate of UNI. A portion of the gift establishes the Wilson Scholars Fund which will be used to provide full ride scholarship support to graduates of high school in Tama County.

Jenna Meyer started her senior year like many other students, in search of what the future holds. She visited many colleges and nothing spoke to her quite like UNI did. By the time winter rolled around, she had made the decision to attend UNI, much like both her parents Kristi and Jeremy Meyer, who are alumni from the UNI class of 2000.

After being accepted into the college Meyer began applying for scholarships as many incoming students do. In one of her scholarship packets she noticed the new David W. Wilson Scholars Endowed Fund Scholarship and began doing some research. After realizing the magnitude of the opportunity Meyer went to work and began the application process. Starting with two five hundred word essays on interest in being a business major and financial need. With drive and excitement she finished both essays within a day and submitted her work.

Submitting her essay in early April, Meyer waited for an update and results on the first round.

After a few weeks and some emailing with Elisabeth Soliz, the Director of the Office for Professional Distinction at UNI, a phone interview was to be held as Meyer was named a finalist.

A scary moment for Meyer was on a normal day in class. Her phone started ringing and a Cedar Falls number popped up. While unable to answer the call due to being in class she figured the missed phone call might have something to do with her ongoing scholarship bid. With some emailing back and forth an official phone call was set up for the next day.

“During the actual phone call I was nervous knowing I’m one of the finalists. If I sounded dumb I knew I wouldn’t be a good candidate. In the interview Elisabeth told me all the info about the scholarship. She asked questions about a lot of things. Stuff like: participation, jobs, my family, and my interests,” she said.

With the phone interview completed Meyer called her Mom to fill her in on how she thought the interview went. Feeling confident off the heels of her life changing interview, Meyer was thrilled that Mrs. Soliz commented on her professionalism.

After a brief phone call with her mother, the two said goodbye and hung up. No more than 15 minutes later, Kristi Meyer’s phone rang again, this time it wasn’t her daughter calling, it was STC High School Counselor Dan Lopez informing Kristi that her daughter had just won herself a full ride scholarship to study business at UNI.

A surprise announcement was planned with Jenna Meyer’s friends and family in on the surprise for an agonizing eleven days. With some coordination Meyer was awarded the scholarship in person by Leslie Wilson, dean of the Wilson College of Business. Joined by friends, family, staff, and a small UNI media crew, Meyer’s life changed right in front of her.

After being presented with the scholarship, Meyer spoke on the magnitude of this scholarship.

“I am so grateful and honored to be the first recipient of the David W. Wilson Scholarship. I can’t wait for this fall to make memories that will last a lifetime,” she said.

Meyer then talked about her intended major.

“I plan on majoring in human resource management. I hope to one day make a positive impact in the work environment. The major is very versatile and lends itself to many situations and opportunities in business,” she said. “Although this major will bring its fair share of challenges I think it will keep me on my toes and always striving to be a better person and businesswoman.”

Through hard work, discipline, and a dream, Meyer encourages all to never settle for less than your best.