Image by John Koster
School of Education alumna Nancy Lindenberg knows what it’s like to juggle personal life with academic work while trying to complete a degree.
That’s why she is setting up a challenge grant to help students facing these situations. Lindenberg is donating $25,000 and challenging other donors to match that amount to endow the fund. One donor has already given $10,000 to this Extra Help Fund. Visit us online or contact Carol Wacker, School of Education Development Director at firstname.lastname@example.org to make a donation.
When Lindenberg heard stories about students who had to quit classes as they neared graduation because of unexpected financial setbacks like a car repair, unplanned childcare expenses, or extra supplies for a class, she decided to do something to help. Working with Wacker, she is setting up this fund to help students who face such emergencies.
“I realize that at times some students find themselves in a situation outside their control,” she says. “Those students are working hard and very close to completing their degree. All they may need is a little bit of extra help to assist them to complete their degree. This fund can make the difference for those students and allow them to stay in school until graduation.”
Lindenberg’s own plans to earn a degree were interrupted back in the 1980s by life changes that weren’t financial, but threatened to stall her pursuit of a UWM education degree.
She was closing in on her final 15 credits, working toward a degree in community studies, when she got married, moved to South Carolina, and became pregnant with her oldest child.
That was back before computers made distance education an option. However, faculty members at the School of Education worked with her to help her finish up her coursework through Clemson University and earn her bachelor’s degree at UWM.
“Life happens to all of us and at times unforeseen circumstances pull us off our path,” she says. My hope is that this fund will make the difference and help these students stay in school so they can earn their degree. I am really enthusiastic about being a part of that.”
As a “proud graduate” of Milwaukee Public Schools, she also felt strongly about helping the students at UWM who had come from MPS and other urban systems and plan to return to teach in those schools.
“I feel that often MPS teachers do not get the credit they deserve,” she says. “They face so many challenges. We need these really enthusiastic and dedicated teachers. They can be a great example for the students that they teach. To have young people who want to earn a degree in education and go on and teach in urban schools is really important for all of us.”
Lindenberg didn’t go into teaching herself, but has great respect for those who choose the field.
“After completing my degree, I started my family,” she says. “My career has been raising five children along with doing volunteer work through my children’s schools.” She is also a committed and active community volunteer, working with the Women’s Center of Waukesha and with Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. At the Women’s Center, she serves on the Board of Directors as well as Co-Chair of the Special Events Committee.
“She has organized drives and other events to benefit the agency and is a thoughtful, engaged volunteer always quick to jump in and help with a task,” says Ann Marie Moss, Director of Development & Communications for the Women’s Center.
Lindenberg feels fortunate, she says, that her circumstances now permit her to help others financially by setting up this fund to help today’s education students. “This just really resonated with me.”
UWM does have a program to provide small grants to students for emergency financial needs, but Lindenberg wanted to set something up specifically for education students because their future careers don’t always provide them with the finances to afford a lot of student loans.
“I give huge credit to those who choose to teach and have a career in education,” she says. “Teachers are special people with a very important job to do. I appreciate the passion, enthusiasm and skill it takes to be a teacher. Teachers make all of our lives better because of the service they do in teaching our children.”
If you would like to help fund Community Engagement & Student Success, please visit the Give to UWM webpage.
Or contact Christina Makal McCaffery at (414) 229-4963 or email@example.com to explore opportunities to support students, ensure research excellence and enable ongoing collaborations with community schools and organizations.