Monday, March 19, 2012

JPS Scholarship: Awarding Students for Excellence in Leadership

The JPS Scholarship deadline of March 30th is approaching fast. Read on to learn everything you need to know about this worthwhile opportunity. 

Jared Stene loved coffee, argyle, and The Price Is Right. He also enjoyed organizing petitions and campaigning for elected county positions, and had the opportunity to serve as Treasurer of the Winona County DFL. He was elected in 2007 as President of the Winona State Student Senate.
After Jared’s passing in November 2007, it was his spirit of leadership that evoked the idea of a scholarship in his name. “For me, it’s a way to keep his memory alive,” said Char Kanski, Jared’s mother and one of the scholarship’s board members, “and to help out another student who has the same passion and ideals that [Jared] brought to his life and others, a continuation of the road he was traveling.” Kasey Gerkovich, another Board member, didn’t know Jared Stene, but believes in his legacy. “It is an honor […] to help students grow and develop leadership skills.”

The Jared P. Stene Student Leadership Scholarship, slated to award $2,000 to a MnSCU university student for the full 2012-2013 academic year, consists of a short application, a resume, and an essay on what change applicants brought to their school or community. For Char and Dr. Connie Gores, a higher education professional serving on the JPS Scholarship Board, the essay is important in giving shape to the applicant. Dr. Gores “want[s] to read about what matters to the applicant and what this scholarship will mean to them.”

Char “like[s] to see what [students are] involved with that may be helping others” and whether the students are “engaged in a ‘cause’ which excites them.”  She looks forward to hearing what change students wish to affect or have already succeeded in producing. Char also appreciates how students become leaders. “Sometimes it isn't a group or cause that has turned someone into a leader, but an event in their personal life. That's another essay that catches my attention as well.”

The last part of the application is a simple question: If you could be any coffee drink, what would you be and why?

Cheree Johnson, the student Board member from Bemidji State, was intrigued by the question and Jared’s story. She received the first scholarship award in 2010. It was “unlike any other I have come across. I am thrilled […] to give other students the same opportunity that I had.”

“It’s important for applicants to have fun with the essay and the creative question; it’s important to be themselves and not try to be what they think we want to see,” said Dr. Gores.

For more information about the scholarship as well as the application, visit or contact Justin Hiniker at

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