ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The Rockford Promise scholarship is available to any graduate of the Rockford School District who wants to attend Rockford University or Rock Valley College.

Rockford Promise scholar Emily Calgaro graduated from Rock Valley College before transferring to Northern Illinois University. That’s where she’s currently majoring in physics, with a minor in chemistry.

Calgaro says she’s had help developing her love of math and science over the years.

“I’ve had a lot of really good teachers, a lot of great math teachers, especially at Auburn High School,” she said. “And, my physics teacher at Auburn was just one of my favorite teachers ever. She definitely guided me to the major of physics.”

Now, Calgaro is just one of twelve students at NIU chosen as a “BELONG in STEM” scholar.

The BELONG in STEM scholarship is funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation’s STEM program.

The designation not only saves her financially, but allows her the opportunity to engage in a variety of peer activities.

Elaine Breck, Board of Directors President of the Rockford Promise scholarship program, says Calgaro is a great example of what the local scholarship program is all about.

“It just affirms what we are doing with our Rockford Promise scholarships. We’re identifying high potential students who graduate from the Rockford public school system who might not have the opportunity to go to college, if it weren’t for the Rockford Promise scholarship,” Breck said.

For Calgaro, getting the help from Rockford Promise to begin her higher education journey, and now continuing her work with the BELONG in STEM award, was not the path she expected. But she says she’s more than happy to be on it.

“I wasn’t looking at Rock Valley as a first choice, initially,” she said. “I was planning to go to another university and take out lots of loans, but when I got that scholarship, I realized it was definitely a blessing.”

Students at RVC in the science or math field, planning to transfer to NIU, are eligible to apply for the BELOING in STEM scholarship.


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