Graduate Profile: A Scholarship for Hope
Dedicate yourself to your studies and understand that all the faculty at GSU want to help you succeed. You are lucky to be at a school where you are not a number, but a student with your own strengths and weaknesses
Illinois’ budget crisis created obstacles for everyone, and the limited financial aid during this time meant college for Danuta Chlebek was no longer possible. When Governors State University (GSU) heard Chlebek’s story, the university sprang to action and supplied her a full ride scholarship to ensure she could obtain her Bachelor of Arts in History. Now a 2020 graduate, Chelbek encourages current and future students to cherish their time at GSU.
“Dedicate yourself to your studies and understand that all the faculty at GSU want to help you succeed. You are lucky to be at a school where you are not a number, but a student with your own strengths and weaknesses.”
GSU Newsroom: What brought you to GSU?
Chlebek: When I was in my senior year in high school, the state of Illinois was going through the great budget crisis which limited financial aid to many students. It led to a tough situation for me because attending college without financial aid was almost impossible. My high school counselor connected me with a reporter who was doing a piece on how the budget crisis affected students. My story appeared in an online newspaper and GSU offered me the Presidential Scholarship. Not only did it cover all my costs associated with college but it's location close to Chicago and the easy transportation connection with the city made it a good school for me.
GSU Newsroom: What are some of the highlights from your time at GSU?
Chlebek: GSU's Center for Student Engagement, the Center for the Junior Year, the Honors Program, and the History Department provided me with many opportunities to present my undergraduate research at several conferences. I presented at GSU’s Research Day, the Honors Regional Conference in Romeoville, the National Collegiate Honors Conference in Boston, and at the Midwestern History Conference in Minneapolis. I worked alongside my professors to develop and write a research paper and then had the opportunity to present it to others. Those experiences created at every step of the research process became the highlights from my time at GSU.
GSU Newsroom: Who were some of the professors who shaped your experience and your future?
Chlebek: I am in debt to several faculty members at Governors State who continuously found the time and energy to mentor me throughout my undergraduate studies. They include Professor Laura White from the English Department who always found the time to talk with me about my writing, Professor Ellie Walsh who mentored me in my effort to obtain my History Degree, Professor David Golland who introduced me to thinking like a historian and Professor Elliot Fackler who intrigued me into looking at history from different perspectives. I would also like to mention the director of the Center for the Junior Year Professor David Rhea who helped me shape my opportunities after I graduate from GSU. I always looked forward to class and meetings with these individuals and I owe them all so very much.
GSU Newsroom: What's next after graduation?
Chlebek: I plan on pursuing graduate school in Chicago.
GSU Newsroom: What advice would you give current and future GSU students?
Chlebek: Future GSU students should not be afraid to fight for their education. They should also dedicate themselves to their studies and understand that all the faculty at GSU want to help them succeed. They are lucky to be at a school where they are not numbers but students with their strengths and weaknesses. Professors at GSU are ready to dedicate themselves to their students who show the initiative in their studies. They only ask for dedication, respect, and effort in return.