Computer Lab Student Scholarship - Past Recipients

Spring 2017: Sopheany Sry

Sopheany Sry

The Spring 2017 Computer Lab Scholarship Award Recipient was Sopheany Sry.

“I am originally from Cambodia and also the first person in my family to attend college. I am not different from the majority of international students who are struggling with English language. However, I am using this as a way for me to improve myself. I believe if I work hard enough, I will be successful” said Sopheany.

In her free time, Sopheany spends her free time studying and doing research to maintain her GPA. She also enjoys being involved in the community. Mainly with the interior design department, the Computer Labs, the International Student Center, and the Cambodian community in Salt Lake. She also hopes to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity by building, painting, and decorating houses in the local community.

Sopheany said that her “life started to change the minute [she] became a team member in the Computer Lab.” She got to know people, and by getting the scholarship she’s able to worry less about taking extra shifts which has enabled her to pay more attention to pursuing her degree in Interior Design.

Spring 2017: Elise Waikart

Elise Waikart

Elise Waikart has received the Spring 2017 Study Abroad Computer Lab Scholarship. In coordination with the Office of International Programs, Elise has received $3,000 to participate in a semester abroad at the Valencia Polytechnic University in Valencia, Spain.

“This is the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Elise. “Studying abroad has been a goal of mine since high school, but it never worked out. This scholarship came at the perfect moment!”

Elise believes studying abroad will help her to ignite her education and launch her career. She’s excited to broaden her horizons by learning about a completely new and foreign culture. She hopes this opportunity will help her be prepared to work in an increasingly global community. Elise will be studying in Spain during the fall 2017 semester.

This is Elise’s second semester at Weber State, she will be graduating with her Associate’s Degree this spring. After which, Elise plans to begin working towards a Bachelor’s Degree in engineering. She’s excited to start her engineering classes while she’s in Spain. Elise has always been fascinated with why and how things work and decided to study engineering to cultivate her curiosity, and also to design and invent.

Elise has been very involved within the community, she has been very active with the local chapter of the American Red Cross. She has lead the Red Cross youth program, trained to respond to local disasters, became CPR certified, and trained others on matters of international humanitarian law. Elise has also volunteered with: The Ogden Nature Center, North Ogden Animal Shelter, The Brookdale Nursing home, and Two Rivers Alternative High.

In her free time, you’ll find Elise skiing up at Snowbasin Resort or Kayaking at the many lakes and reservoirs around Utah. Elise loves experiencing new things and can’t wait to start her exciting new adventure!

Fall 2016: ZoeLinn (Zoey) Pessetto

Zoey Pessetto

Zoey said that she’s one of the lucky few that has never changed her major and she’s crossing her fingers that it stays that way – she’s currently studying English Teaching with a Psychology Teaching minor here at Weber State.

Zoey enjoys spending time with her large family, volunteering at the animal shelter, serving as the Welcome Committee Vice President for the LDS Institute, and participating in community plays.

Zoey loves working in the Computer Labs because of the great people she gets to work with. She is grateful for the scholarship because she believes that “Education is one of the most important things… you can never have too much knowledge.” This is why she wants to become a teacher, so she can help kids reach their full potential through education.


Fall 2015: Siyu Lu

Siyu LuStudent Computer Lab scholarship recipient for Fall 2015 is Siyu Lu. Siyu is studying at Weber State as an international student from China. Siyu is an actively involved student both in and out of the classroom. He has maintained a GPA of 3.7 and currently serves as the vice-president of two clubs and organizations at Weber State. Siyu plans to graduate in International Economics.

As a foreign student, Siyu has overcome challenges typical of all international students. He says, “I was afraid of talking with Americans because I was not that good at speaking English.” Three semesters into his studies, Siyu realized that the success and experience of his education depended upon his level of involvement on campus. He decided to step outside his comfort zone. Relying on his existing skills and knowledge of computers, he applied for a computer lab assistant position. This position offered him the opportunity to help other students in areas of his skill set, and built his confidence in communicating with other students. “I feel so lucky that everyone at my first job is so kind and nice, and that I have so much support at the beginning of my education and my life. I found it really hard to get involved. Until I had this job, I hated to talk to people because I was not that good at speaking English, but now I am far better than before.”

Siyu’s mother has been his inspiration to help others. Siyu has volunteered in his community since a young age, and that dedication and selflessness finally rewarded him with the opportunity to volunteer with the Architect@work Exhibition at the World Expo Center in China. This volunteer opportunity stands out in particular because it was the first time that Siyu’s community engagement related to his major, and it’s a memory that will stay with him forever. Even though the majority of Siyu’s volunteer work has been in China, he has sought out opportunities to be more involved at Weber State. “I’ve been encouraged and supported from the computer labs and that’s the key factor which drives me to believe that I can perform as well as others, so I decided to participate in more community activities this year.” In addition to serving as the Vice President for Student Economics Association, he is also the vice-president for the Chinese Student Association, and a member of the Computer Labs Activities Committee.

The Computer Lab Scholarship has been an inspiration for Siyu since it is the first scholarship that he has ever received. It recognizes excellence in his studies and his job performance. It has required extra effort from Siyu to stay on top of his course load, and maintain a steady GPA. Siyu plans to use the scholarship to buy textbooks that he was previously been unable to afford. Prior to this, Siyu had been using preview versions available online. Siyu believes that because of the scholarship he has become more conscious in the generosity of giving, and hopes to similarly be able to give back.


Spring 2015: Chugiat (Keng) Udommana


The Spring 2015 Computer Lab Scholarship has been awarded to Chugiat (Keng) Udommana. Keng is originally from Thailand, and has come to Weber State to earn a Bachelors Degree in Accounting.

Keng is very involved in the community, and has helped create 72 hours Kits for the American Red Cross, make blankets for children at Primary Children’s Hospital, and is currently working on the Thailand Project.

For the Thailand Project, Keng will be traveling to Thailand with a group from Weber State and building a kitchen, dining hall, and reservoir for local orphans and elderly. Keng will also be serving as a translator during the trip.

As an international student Keng spends a lot of his free time studying his class material ahead of time, so he can better understand it while he is in class. The rest of his free time is usually spent at the gym.


2014: Mary-Kate Metzger


Mary-Kate Metzger was the recipient of the Open Labs Scholarship in spring of 2014, her last year as an undergraduate at WSU. "The scholarship award came at the best possible time for me," said Mary-Kate. " My piano practice sessions were often 5-6 hours a day, which made my work availability and income rather limited, so the scholarship was a huge blessing to me during that final step in my undergraduate career."

Aside from the large time investment required of Mary-Kate in her piano studies, she also sacrificed a good deal of time and money to become proficient in Spanish (her major) and learn about the various countries and cultures that use the language. Mary-Kate participated in study abroad with WSU multiple times, and on one trip worked alongside her classmates to teach low-income women in Guatemala how to use micro-loans and how to take advantage of them to help expand their businesses.

As team lead during her time in the computer labs, Mary-Kate sought to provide the best service possible to the students, and tried to get to know her fellow lab aides and become friends with them as well as colleagues. Mary-Kate aimed to keep everyone involved and engaged in the lab meetings and projects, and did her best to lead by example at all times.

As an individual, Mary-Kate has always believed that it is important to be aware of and involved in the world around you, and that a person's gifts and abilities ought to be used to benefit others as well as themselves. Because of this, Mary-Kate often utilized her musical talent at fundraisers and benefits, and spent time volunteering in Spanish-speaking countries with underprivileged people. She volunteered on a regular basis in the local community, as well: she was an active member of WSU STAND, a student-run anti-genocide coalition, for multiple years. She served as co-president of the group for one year. Mary-Kate was also involved in WSU's Student Involvement and Leadership team, serving multiple years on various committees. She was a reporter for The Signpost for one semester, a member of the WSU Spanish Club, and also volunteered as a tutor at The Dream Center in Salt Lake City for two years. In addition, Mary-Kate made use of the computer skills she had acquired at the computer labs by working as a volunteer for the Ogden Pregnancy Care Center during her last two years as an undergraduate.

Having graduated, Mary-Kate now has a wide range of options open to her as she considers a career. She plans to go back to school to study music therapy, get certified to teach English abroad and travel through various countries teaching the language, or stay in Utah and work as a teacher aide in Spanish-oriented schools and perhaps getting licensed and pursue a career as a Spanish teacher.

Mary-Kate said "The concept behind the Open Labs Scholarship powerful, because the lab aides work together as a team to raise money for the benefit of a single student.I have seen the lab aides act in selfless ways to help bring in funds for each recipient, and I feel blessed to have been one of those recipients. I hope that the scholarship will continue to assist other lab aides in their academic careers as it did me."


2013: Loreen Nariari


Loreen believes that “The scholarship shows lab aides that someone believes in their future enough to help make it happen and that is enough to make any student want to work even harder."

Which is exactly what Loreen did. Loreen served as an active member of the Computer Lab’s ‘Blanket Making Committee,’ and was able to spearhead the effort of getting all of the Lab Aides together to make blankets for the patients at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake. She was also able to help introduce two new community involvement activities into the Labs, such as creating preparedness kits for the American Red Cross.

She also found that academically, “what you get out is a direct result of what you put in.” Because of that, Loreen strived to put in all of her effort into her classes, and was willing to seek help when she didn’t feel like that was enough. She also served as a great Team Leader for the Elizabeth Hall and University Village Computer Labs.

Loreen is only the second person in her family to attend college and hopes that by doing so she can establish a tradition of college graduates for her family. Loreen has received her undergraduate degree in Interior Design, and the Computer Lab Scholarship was able to help her do so.


2012: Kornsuang (Kay) Kraikongchit


Originally from Thailand, Weber State Computer Labs employee, Kornsuang (Kay) Kraikongchit won the first Open-Student Computer Labs Scholarship for her performance at work, involvement in the community, and outstanding academic record.

Kay has been an employee in the Weber State Computer Labs for four years as she has worked her way through a Bachelor’s in Accounting and English and now focuses on a Master’s of Taxation. Kay maintains a 3.9 GPA while working for the labs and for Academic Support Services as a tutor.

"As an employee, Kay has performed every task and responsibility with exceptional dedication, commitment and hard work. As a team lead, she always puts the interest and wellbeing of her team before herself. As a result, she not only cultivated a dedicated and supportive team but one that loves and respects her,” said computer lab coordinator, Cary Anson.

With the chaos of a family at home, two jobs, and school, all while learning English, Kay still finds time to help others. She helped raise funds for the tsunami in Indonesia, supported the SLC Primary Children’s Hospital, was treasurer for the Women in Construction Club, and volunteers for the VITA program that helps community members with their taxes. “It makes me feel good to help those in need,” said Kay.

Kay came to the United States to gain more education about the United States tax system. She plans to bring that knowledge back home to help improve Thailand’s tax system.

The scholarship she was awarded has helped her pay her education expenses and concentrate on studying instead of having to find extra shifts to make ends meet. In fact, she is contemplating continuing her education by pursuing a doctoral degree. “This scholarship inspires me to continue my study to the next level,” said Kay. "Kay is one of our most deserving student-employees,” said Carey. “She is a well-rounded student-employee and global citizen and I’m proud she won the Open-Student Computer Lab Scholarship,” he added.

As an international student Kay has had many cultural and language obstacles to overcome. “From the beginning I realized that it is not an easy task. I have committed myself to studying hard by doing homework, studying the material and textbooks, and preparing for the next class,” said Kay.

Kay is excited to continue to help raise funds for future scholarship winners. She gained many marketing skills in fundraising that she believes she would not have learned in the classroom. “I wanted to sell as many as books that I could (to raise money for the scholarship), so I had to explain and convince everyone to buy our books,” said Kay.

The Open-Student Computer Labs Scholarship may seem like an insignificant amount to win, but the energy and thoughtfulness behind the money that is raised gives students the encouragement that their fellow peers and supporters do believe in them and their continued education. “I am determined to gain more knowledge and to use it wisely to help people everywhere I go, “said Kay.


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