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Scholarship Boot Camps Help Students Secure Funding, Complete Their Degrees

By rpietrucha on December 1, 2015 7:00 AM | Permalink

Left: A UNLV student reviews one of the University Libraries' many scholarship resources. Right: Marydean Martin and Charlie Silvestri began supporting the University Libraries when they were UNLV students. In addition to Martin’s donation last winter to fund the Libraries’ Scholarship Boot Camps, the couple made a donation this summer to name the group study room in Lied Library pictured above. Both are staunch supporters of education in Southern Nevada, with a high school named in honor of Silvestri and Nevada State College’s library named in honor of Martin.

Over the last five years, UNLV developed a comprehensive retention, progression, and completion plan to promote student success and increase graduation rates. However, this plan does not address the most critical obstacle students face when pursuing a degree: the cost of higher education.

“One of the major stumbling blocks for all undergraduate completion is funding, and it is particularly acute at UNLV,” said Xan Goodman (the University Libraries’ health and life sciences librarian featured here). “The University Libraries has developed Scholarship Boot Camps as one way to address this.”

Generously supported by Marydean Martin, a member of the University Libraries’ Advisory Board, Scholarship Boot Camps provide students with the resources they need to seek out, apply for, and earn scholarship money to help fund their education.

This year’s two Scholarship Boot Camps (held on January 29 and May 1) reached more than 50 undergraduate and graduate students across all disciplines. UNLV alumna and scholarship coach Rhea Watson provided Boot Camp students with tools and guidance on building their resumes and scholarship applications. Goodman and Sue Wainscott (the University Libraries’ science, technology, engineering, and math librarian) shared library resources such as the Scholarship LibGuide for science majors; the Grants, Funding, and Grant Writing LibGuide; the Grant Forward database, which contains scholarship listings; UNLV’s scholarship site; scholarship books for affinity groups; and more.

Students learned how to conduct scholarship searches, develop relationships with faculty recommenders, build resumes that impress funding agencies, and better market themselves.

“One of the University Libraries’ goals is to help all our students become self-sufficient,” said Dean Patricia Iannuzzi. “By helping students find the funding they need for their education, we help to retain them so they can not only complete their degrees, but also go on to use their education to succeed in the workplace.”

To learn more about these and other workshops the University Libraries offers students, please visit


Scholarship Boot Camp attendee and UNLV freshman Akaisha Cook received a $5,000 Lewis Family Honors Scholarship this July. Cook is a biology major with an interest in joining UNLV’s new School of Medicine in the future. She attended Scholarship Boot Camp in May, during her first semester at UNLV.

“I did not think I could ever receive a scholarship other than the Millennium,” Cook said. “The Boot Camp not only changed this highly negative perspective I once had, but also left me with some memorable pieces of advice I use whenever I apply to scholarships.”