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University of Nottingham Alumni in North America » Those We Have Helped

Those We Have Helped

Image supplied courtesy of The University of Nottingham ©

Image supplied courtesy of The University of Nottingham ©


Thanks to funding from American Alumni, the Friends of the University of Nottingham (FUN) America scholarship supports one student a year to study a full time Masters degree Course at the University of Nottingham.


Thanks to FUN America Matthew’s enjoying his spell in Nottingham

Masters student and all-round muggle Quidditch hero Matthew Klimuszka is enjoying his first spell studying abroad thanks to FUN: America donors.
Matthew, who hails from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, is midway through a Masters in Sustainable Energy Engineering and receives the FUN: America Scholarship and a US Masters Scholarship.
“My scholarships made coming to Nottingham and studying here possible,” said Matthew. “They’ve given me international experience and allowed me to work with people in industry.  I’m on a pretty unique and very special course, which is preparing me for a career in sustainable energy – Nottingham is one of the very few places where I could have done this.
“I graduated from Franklin & Marshall College and I already had student debt so I didn’t really want to have that much more from graduate school. Getting my scholarships was very influential in my decision to come to Nottingham. Without them I probably wouldn’t have been here as I’d have to have had more US federal loans.
“Neither of my parents went to college so I’m the first generation to do so. They never got to experience it but it was important  for them that me and my brother went on to higher education. At the same time, they could only do so much in terms of supporting me financially.”
Putting his quidditch experience to good use
The size of The University of Nottingham came as something of a shock for Matthew as it’s around ten times the size of his former college, but he has settled in well thanks to a game played by the legendary fictional character Harry Potter in the world famous novels.
Muggle quidditch is a sport of two teams of seven players each mounted on broomsticks and played on a rectangular pitch. It’s still a young sport in the UK played mostly among universities and earlier this year, the University team – the Nottingham Nightmares – hosted the British Quidditch Cup, finishing fifth in the competition.
“I played quidditch for all four years at F&M because the game is huge in the States so I made contact with the team before I got here and it was definitely another factor in my choosing Nottingham. By the end of my first month I’d taken up an exec position, I was captain and running the practices.
“It was comforting coming to a new country and knowing that, whatever else happened, I had something that I was familiar with and a very friendly and fun social circle.”
Great connections with local and national industry
Another reason for Matthew’s choice in the UK was the university’s extensive links with industry.
“I spent some time out at Los Alamos National Laboratory doing some work with seismic modelling of underground nuclear explosions, which was a really cool experience. So I’ve had experience of working in an academic research environment, I’ve worked in a government research lab and I’m hoping this summer my research project here will be with SASIE Ltd, a sustainable and eco-friendly renewable energy company, which will give me experience of working in industry.
“I studied physics for my degree but wanted a masters degree in something a little more hands on because I want to be able to go out in the world afterwards and do work that actually benefits people.  At the end of the summer I’m going back to the US and I’d like to work somewhere like Boston because it’s a big city for sustainable energy and I think there’ll be jobs there. I want to work in industry, preferably energy consulting.”
Could you help an American student like Matthew?
Over many years, generous gifts from our US alumni have enabled us to fund scholarships specifically for American students who wish to study at Nottingham. We want to give more financial support to our students and continue to inspire them to make the trip over the pond. FUN: America’s aim is to increase the existing scholarships from 25% towards their tuition fees to as much as 50% so that we don’t lose bright and promising students because of the financial challenges of studying in a different country. You can find out more about supporting a student here.
Posted on Monday 18th May 2015

December 2013

A Letter of thanks to FUN America from recent graduate, William Bair 2013

December 12, 2013

 Dear FUN America supporters,

I want to be begin by giving my sincerest thanks for the generous scholarship that allowed me to come to study in the MBA program at Nottingham. I’ve spent the last five years in education, working in various private schools throughout Texas, and when the opportunity opened up to pursue an MBA and begin work in educational consulting for students and schools, I was at the perfect stage in life to leave things behind in the USA for a while and take advantage of all that studying abroad has to offer. Though I miss the interactions with students (most of all my all-boys, LEGO-obsessed, outdoorsy fourth-grade class) I think this MBA at Nottingham’s world-famous business school the perfect preparation for a deeper impact on education in the US and abroad.

After only three months here, I can say beyond a doubt that my experiences at Nottingham have been some of the most rewarding, challenging, and often exhilarating I’ve had. I’ve met and become close friends with people from 20 different nations, been stretched in my studies, and have come to appreciate subjects I never knew were so fascinating (accounting and finance amongst them). Everyday I wake up excited, even if a bit exhausted at times, for what another day will bring. And this all would not be possible without your support. Not only has the scholarship eased the great weight that comes with debt looming over student loans, but it has reminded me that there are people I’ve never met eager and willing to give so others might have such a rich experience.

The future is very bright, and I owe much of that to you. This truly has been, and continues to be, one of the highlights of my short, but very sweet life. I cannot thank you enough for the generosity. May I be able to give in the future that others also might have such a blessed life.


William Bair


March 2013

Aidan’s at home in old England

A fascination with Old English and a love of books brought Phoenician Aidan Gaunt to The University of Nottingham.

After an undergraduate English degree at Colorado State University, Aidan successfully applied to be this year’s FUN:America scholar studying for a Masters in Viking and Anglo-Saxon Studies.

“Coming from Phoenix, Arizona to Nottingham via Colorado probably means I’ve gone from hot to cold and now coldest,” said Aidan, aged 22, who is currently studying Old English and Anglo Saxon texts and can boast three copies of the epic Old English poem Beowulf on her book shelves.

“I grew up with a love of animals and books. I worked at Phoenix Zoo at one point when I was at High School, and I wanted to be a veterinarian, a horse trainer or a forest ranger. Then I went to college and had to choose between animals and literature, and I decided I couldn’t live without books.

“I had this really amazing professor at Colorado State, Dr. Sonya Veck, and in my first semester she read this poem in Old English and I thought it was super cool and I had to know more. I went on to study Shakespeare and the history of the English language with Dr. William Marvin, and for my undergraduate dissertation I did a recitation from memory of Beowulf in the Old English, which I really enjoyed.

“After my degree I did some research on which universities had interesting English programmes and that’s how I came to be at Nottingham. I’d always wanted to come to England and this is my first time here.

“The first week or two were difficult because I arrived with my three bags with all my stuff for the year and each one must have weighed about 60lbs. I just managed to get them on the train before it set off, but it was close. When I got to the School it was raining. It rains in Arizona sometimes, but not this much, and I was holding my umbrella the wrong way so my backpack was soaked through. I still have one book where the pages are still all crinkly.

“I’m really enjoying my time in Nottingham and have made a lot of good friends. I had to get used to not riding my bike on the wrong side of the road and to stop calling my jeans pants, but it really hasn’t been as great of a culture shock as I thought it might be.

“Last semester we went on a Viking and medieval research field trip in Cumbria, I’ve been to conferences and this summer we postgraduates are organising our own conference for other postgraduates and so we’ve sent out a call for papers and have our own deadline for abstracts, which is really cool.”

Aidan plans on returning to the States for a year this September and will then apply for a teaching fellowship, perhaps at Nottingham or at Yale, Berkeley or UTA in the States. Finance however, is always a consideration.

“I graduated a year early from Colorado State so I had some money saved up. This meant I could have just about funded this year if I stretched everything really tight. But the FUN: America Scholarship and the Christine Fell Scholarship have given me the ability to travel and to attend some of my conferences. If you want to know what’s going on in your scholarly community, you have to go to those conferences.

“The scholarships are really important to me, they’ve given me the extra things in my education so I’d really like to say thank you to FUN:America and to all those people who support this scholarship and the Christine Fell Scholarship. I have two little sisters back home starting college while I’m doing my Masters and then I’m hoping to do a PhD, so I do need scholarships if I’m to pursue a career in academia. Even with them I have to be very frugal with my spending.”




Nottingham reignites Leslie’s passion

2011’s FUN America $6,000 Scholarship recipient was Leslie Fisher from New York, who is studying for a masters in Advanced Nursing. Leslie said: ”The scholarship has given me the opportunity to study in such a wonderfully diverse environment, where I’ve gotten to meet people from all over the world. This has truly provided me with a unique perspective on nursing, and has provided me with some lifelong friends. I am feeling more academically challenged than I ever have before, which is fantastic! Receiving this scholarship has given me the encouragement I needed to take a big step and go abroad for my education, which was a wonderful opportunity that I’m glad I didn’t pass up.”



FUN America scholarship student Jill Sollenberger received her scholarship from Dr. Heather Roberts, Director of Postgraduate Education

World-renowned research facilities at The University of Nottingham, attracted the recipient of this year’s Friends of The University of Nottingham, America (FUN America) scholarship. Jill Sollenberger, from Stratford, New Jersey has taken on a Master of Research Degree in Chemistry. A graduate of the University of North Carolina, Jill had been working for Targacept, a leading biopharmaceutical company before deciding to extend her studies in England. “I’m extremely grateful to the alumni members of FUN America for their generosity,” said Jill. “It’s helping enormously with my living costs while in England and without it I would certainly have had to take on more loans in order to come here. I’m really enjoying myself so thank you FUN America.”