Left: Jennifer Sheeren; Right: Delaney Swink
Union Plus recently awarded $150,000 in scholarships to 106 students representing 36 unions, including two winners representing the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, in the 2015 Union Plus Scholarship Program. In this 24th year of the program, more than 5,000 applications were received from union members, their spouses and their dependent children in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This year’s IATSE winners are:
Jennifer Sheeren of Houston. Jennifer, whose father, John Sheeren, is a member of IATSE Local 600, has been awarded a $1,000 scholarship.
Delaney Swink of Ashland, Ore. Delaney, whose mother, Jana Carole, is a member of IATSE Local 700, has been awarded a $4,000 scholarship.
“The burden of student debt will be felt for decades to come,” Leslie Tolf, president of Union Privilege, the organization that provides Union Plus benefits for union families and manages the scholarship program, said. “Our scholarship winners understand this nightmare and have an uncanny ability to budget, hold down jobs and internships, and continue to excel in their studies. They are informed consumers, which is increasingly important in today’s world.”
Meet the 2015 IATSE Honorees
A 2015 high school graduate, Jennifer plans to major in special education at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. She aspires to work in autism services or international disability services, or to start an orphanage for children with severe disabilities. Jennifer’s work as a one-to-one counselor at a camp for those with intellectual disabilities sparked her passion for her intended course of study. The experience led her to become president and chapter founder of Best Buddies, which works with special needs children. She also volunteers for and will be interning with Avondale House, a school for children with severe autism, and works as a nanny for a 4-year-old boy with autism. A National Honor Society Member, Jennifer was active in numerous organizations, including student council and Latin club, and was named most dedicated player on her high school rugby team. Jennifer has been planning for college since age 10, diligently saving her money from babysitting and her job at a local garden center. She is thankful for the consistent wages and health benefits afforded her father as a union member.
Delaney is an international studies and romance languages major in the Robert D. Clark Honors College at the University of Oregon with an expected graduation date of June 2017. She hopes to pursue a career in international nonprofit management. In high school, Delaney served as a peer tutor, was an exchange student to Japan, and led a children’s summer camp focused on cultural education through music, dance and cooking. A member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Delaney is a dean’s list honoree. She is public relations director for the University of Oregon International Business and Economics Club and an ambassador for the University of Oregon Student Orientation Program. In 2011, she organized a relief project for victims of the Japan tsunami. Delaney paid for her first full year of college with money saved from her multiple high school jobs. She plans to study abroad in the coming academic year, spending fall semester in Chile and winter/spring semester in Morocco, where she plans to begin her Clark Honors College thesis. She is grateful for her mother’s union health benefits, which helped ensure Delaney’s care as a premature infant who suffered life-threatening illness. She again saw the impact of unions when the UO Graduate Teaching Fellows went on strike the week before final exams, garnering critical wage and benefit improvements. “This never would have happened without the support of their union,” Delaney said.
Learn More About the Union Plus Scholarship Program
Union Plus Scholarship awards are granted to students attending a two-year college, four-year college, graduate school or a recognized technical or trade school. Since starting the program in 1991, Union Plus has awarded more than $3.7 million in educational funding to more than 2,500 union members, spouses and dependent children.
Union Plus is committed to helping union members and their families fund their college education. In addition to the scholarships, Union Plus also offers the following benefits to help union families afford higher education:
Discounts of 15 to 60 percent on college and graduate school test preparation courses from The Princeton Review. Discounts are available for classroom, online and private tutoring for the SAT®, ACT®, GMAT®, LSAT®, GRE® and MCAT® as well as college affordability and admissions online courses. Visit UnionPlus.org/CollegePrep or call 1-888-243-7737.
Discounts on textbooks. Union families save 5 percent or more when renting or buying textbooks. New, used and digital textbooks are available. Free shipping is included on orders over $59. Visit UnionPlus.org/Textbooks.
College counseling discounts of 15 percent from Collegewise, the admission division of The Princeton Review. College counselors help high school students find, apply to and attend the right colleges. Visit UnionPlus.org/CollegeCounsel for more information.
Union Plus Student Debt Reducer Grant* helps eligible Union Plus Credit Card, Mortgage and Insurance participants pay down their student loans. Visit UnionPlus.org/DebtReducer for more information.
Visit UnionPlus.org/Education for applications and benefit eligibility.
Union Plus also provides a wide range of money-saving benefits and services for union members and families, including discounts on all-union AT&T wireless service, a credit card and mortgage with unique financial assistance, savings on travel and recreation, and more. To learn more, visit UnionPlus.org.