While her major has changed since first enrolling at Alverno College as a freshman, Lena Scheibengraber, now a senior, is relieved to have had the time to fine-tune her life’s passion and ultimate vision.

It was the ability to combine math and dance that initially drew Lena to Alverno. “I was attending Milwaukee High School of the Arts and had an affinity for math, but also a love of dance. It was actually my mom who found out about the ability to combine the two at Alverno.”

Lena started attending Alverno in 2008 and worked with the College’s financial aid office to receive tuition assistance. In addition to receiving an academic scholarship and qualifying for a work/study program, Lena also became a recipient of the Wisconsin Tuition Grant.

“I can say with certainty that receiving the grant was critical to my success, both short-term and long-term,” explains Lena. “It was a relief to know that I qualified and would receive the tuition assistance, but from a long-term perspective, it’s also comforting to know that my college loan debt won’t be a burden I can’t handle.”

While Lena’s path toward math has never wavered, it was joined, at some point, by a desire to add a worldwide perspective to it. Lena is now a double major in math and global studies, and is hoping to pursue a doctoral program in economics as her ultimate step.

“My three-fold pursuit will be international, development and gender analysis; and while some may question or confuse the triage, I think it’s all hugely fascinating.”

“And since my major did get tweaked a bit along the way, I’m also relieved that I could take the time to find my true passion. The Wisconsin Tuition Grant allowed me that flexibility since it enabled me to receive funding for 10 semesters.”

Although Lena is busy with work study – she works 20 hours per week during the school year and 40 hours every week in the summer – she also recognizes the importance of networking and career pathing. She’s been actively involved with Circle K, a collegiate division of Kiwanis, since she was a freshman at Alverno.

“I’ve held several elected positions along the way, but I’ve also had the chance to network with sponsoring Kiwanis clubs, as well as Key clubs, which are the high school chapters. I’m currently helping other schools with their recruitment efforts.”

Perhaps most important to her ultimate career vision, Lena is involved with American Model United Nations, which is an international effort to help tomorrow’s leaders gain a global perspective. “In a nutshell, colleges from across the country come together in Chicago, each representing a different country of the U.N. By creating a simulation of the U.N. experience, including Legal and Security Council, we can explore things that impact voting in the country your college represents. It’s an interesting experience that helps me stay focused on my future.”

Lena’s story first appeared in the WTG Achiever newsletter, which is full of even more amazing student stories from colleges and universities throughout Wisconsin. WTG Achiever is published monthly by Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (WAICU).