University of Minnesota scholarship recipients
Each year the The Howie Stillman Young Leadership Fund provides at least one need-based scholarship to an undergraduate student attending the University of Minnesota School of Journalism with an interest in print or broadcast journalism. Below you will find an update on some of the past recipients of the scholarship.
Ingrid Sanden

Throughout my time at the University of Minnesota, I received several scholarships from different departments, but the one that had the most impact was most definitely the Howie Stillman scholarship. I was awarded the scholarship in 1997 and used it as I was starting my senior year at the U.

I was so fortunate to have received scholarships earlier in my college career, as I mentioned, but often when students approach their junior or senior years (quite possibly the most important years of their college experience) they "run out" of scholarship opportunities. This was true for me, so I was truly blessed to receive the Stillman scholarship. It came at a time when my need for it was high. I was hoping to get an internship with the Minneapolis Start Tribune's Washington bureau later in my senior year. A small stipend was provided, but living in D.C. was going to be a huge expense - especially on top of paying for my senior year of college. With the Stillman scholarship, I was able to save those much-needed pennies. Without it, I may not have had the financial means to accept the internship.

After completing the internship, I graduated from the University in June 1998. Because I was so fortunate to have received the scholarship, I didn't have towering college debt and was able to move to Washington in August of that year. I enjoyed my first job at a political consulting firm, but was offered a position in December 1998 that I just couldn't refuse in the communications department of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. In that position, I had almost daily contact with journalists and wrote, edited, and designed many publications. I managed the publication sales and set records nearly every month in both dollar amount of publications sold, but also number of publications sold. I also managed the Campaign's website, including leading a re-launch of the site in November, 2001.

After having my first child in December 2002, I left the Campaign and started my own web consulting business. I help clients (mainly small non-profits or other independent contractors) write and design their websites, often helping them launch or re-design their sites. I enjoy my work immensely and working from home gives me the opportunity to spend lots of time with my two daughters.

Now, after living in Alexandria, Virginia for nearly 6 years, I'm very active in local issues and was the Northern Virginia Communications Director for the Million Mom March in 2002.   Currently, I serve as Secretary on our neighborhood's Civic Association's Board of Directors.  Our big goals right now are building a tot lot, as well as improving air quality in our neighborhood.  

I want to again thank the Stillman Fund and reiterate how much the scholarship means to me. Without it, I don't know what direction my life would have taken, but I do know this: I probably would not have been able to take that important internship at the Star Tribune and I definitely would not have been able to move back to Washington after graduation. Had I not done that, I would not have the rich professional experience that I do, and I would not have married my husband and wouldn't have my two amazing daughters!

So for that (and for giving me a boost when I needed it!), I thank the Stillman Fund.

Margaret Adamczyk Goetze

I wasn't supposed to go to the University of Minnesota.  I had planned on attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison for my undergraduate degree.  But, a few months before orientation, Madison school officials informed me that they lost my down payment and that the school no longer had a spot for me in its freshman class.  I was, obviously, panicked.  But, luckily, being an oldest child of four who was terribly anxious to get out of the house, I had sent deposits to two universities -- Madison and the U of M -- just in case. 

Literally, the next day I received a call from the U of M Honors Program informing me that I had been awarded a one-year full tuition scholarship. I moved into my dorm at Territorial Hall in September 1992 and never had a moment of regret. Because my parents could not afford to pay for my education, I am so very grateful for the various scholarships I received while attending the U of M, especially the Howie Stillman Memorial Scholarship. 

Although I graduated from the University of Minnesota with a journalism degree, I never worked as a journalist (except for a semester as a reporter for the Minnesota Daily).  Yet, I use the skills I learned in journalism school everyday as a lawyer.  After college I studied abroad in France before returning to the University of Minnesota, this time, as my first choice, to attend the U of M's Law School. 

I graduated from law school in 2001 and worked for a year as a law clerk to the Honorable Terri Stoneburner on the Minnesota Court of Appeals and, since 2002, I have been an associate at the law firm of Briggs and Morgan.  A solid writing background is essential to a career as a lawyer.  As a commercial litigator, I often interview witnesses, compose factual statements and summaries, and draft legal memoranda under tight deadlines. I am very thankful for the excellent education I received from the School of Journalism & Mass Communication because I know that my journalism background has helped me to be a better lawyer. 

Chad thomas

Growing up in Siren, Wisconsin, a town with a population of less than 1,000, Chad Thomas always had big dreams of being a reporter, but never realized how far those dreams would take him. Thomas, a 1994 University of Minnesota recipient of the Howie Stillman Young Leadership scholarship, now works as a European transport correspondent for Bloomberg News in Germany.

“The Howie Stillman scholarship gave me the opportunity to do things that I wouldn’t have normally been able to do, like study abroad for a year in Finland. I was also able to take on a couple of media jobs and internships during school that were important experiences but did not pay very much, if anything at all,” said Thomas. “These opportunities, which I wouldn’t have been able to have (financially), helped build a base for my career. Journalism jobs are so competitive that it’s nearly impossible to get a good job after you’re done with school if you don’t get good experience during school.”

Thomas’ impressive path of success started at the University of Minnesota, where he received a KSTP-TV scholarship and served as the student speaker at his 1996 commencement. Shortly after graduating college, he worked for the Star Tribune’s Washington, D.C., bureau as an intern and then worked briefly for the Rochester (MN) Post Bulletin. In 1997, Thomas received a Rotary Scholarship and went to Germany, where he took intensive German courses. During his time in Germany, he received a fellowship through the Henry Luce Foundation in New York City, which sends young Americans to work in eastern Asia for one year. The fellowship took him to Eugene, Oregon, for an intensive language camp where he studied Filipino. He then went to the Philippines and lived and worked in Manila for the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism and The Probe Team, a TV news magazine.

Thomas returned to the states in 1999 and worked as an on-air reporter for a TV station in Duluth and as a producer for a TV station in Green Bay, Wisc. KSTP-TV in Minneapolis then recruited him to work as a producer. He stayed there for a year and was then awarded the Fulbright Scholarship, which took him back to Berlin, where he worked for the German Press Agency. He then came back to the states yet again for a city hall reporter position with the Duluth News Tribune before returning to Germany to pursue his current position, where he writes mostly about truck and car companies.

Thomas’ advice for other young aspiring journalists is to try living abroad. “It is very eye-opening to live in another country and see how others live. It also helps you to learn more about your own country and culture. Living in the Philippines was my first experience being a racial minority. The feeling of knowing that I stood out because I was different was a new experience for me – a good one. I had never really thought about this living in Wisconsin and Minnesota,” said Thomas.

Thomas enjoys working with Bloomberg, and he thinks his career may bring him back to the United States one day. In his free time he enjoys travel, reading, movies, the theater and exercising.

kimberly jackson

In 2002, I was awarded the Howie Stillman Memorial Scholarship as I finished my journalism degree at the University of Minnesota. With the help of this generous scholarship, I was able to devote a significant amount of time to researching and writing my summa honors thesis. To the consternation of the head of the journalism department, instead of writing my thesis on the topic of journalism, I treated it as a writing and research project using my journalism skills, that focused on foreign policy and of all things, baseball. Considering the topic concerned Cuba, information and statistics were not easy to come by, and I spent an onerous amount of time tracking down what I needed to support my arguments. If I had not had the assistance given from the Howie Stillman Young Leadership Committee and instead had to work a second job to pay for my tuition, I strongly believe that I never would have been able to produce a comprehensive, quality thesis.

One year later, when I moved to Washington, DC to take an internship in Senator Ted Kennedy’s office, my foreign policy writing experience immediately set me apart from other interns, and I found myself in the Senator’s defense and foreign affairs office one day when they needed extra help. One day turned into a week, and soon enough I was their full-time intern. Several months later, in the fall of 2004, I took a position in Minnesota Senator Mark Dayton’s office as a defense and foreign policy research assistant, where several times I relied on the skills I had gained while writing that thesis. The quality of my work and research paid off, and last fall, Senator Dayton promoted me to be his legislative adviser on all defense, foreign affairs, and homeland security issues.

My colleagues in the Senate have years of experience, and age, on me. To compensate for that, I’ve had to spend hours researching and teaching myself about certain convoluted military issues and conflicts in foreign governments. But no matter what the topic is, from port security to military health care to tsunami relief, I always fall back on the skills and knowledge I gained writing my thesis several years ago, with the help of this scholarship.

This fall, I will leave Washington and start graduate school in pursuit of a degree in public health. Although my job on the Hill has allowed me to work on veterans’ health, global AIDS, and bioterrorism preparedness issues, I am coming to the field without a wealth of health experience. Despite that fact, the University of California – Berkeley has offered me a fellowship to study health and social behavior there. I have no doubt that my skills and experience that I can link to the scholarship awarded to me by the Howie Stillman Young Leadership Committee played a significant role in their decision to admit me to their program.

In 2003, I had the honor of speaking before all of Howie’s family and friends during the annual memorial event. In that small speech, three weeks before I was to graduate from the University, I said this: “I finally feel like I’m at that point where the only way I can learn anything more about life is to make mistakes and actually live it instead of being taught about it.” I am infinitely grateful to Howie and his family and friends for helping me to do just that.