Gina O'Brien Scholarship
In July, 2016, the Gina O’Brien Scholarship was established as an annual fund in the Winona State University Foundation. The scholarship will benefit and encourage single mother students who have a declared major and are making satisfactory progress towards graduation.
1. Each recipient must be an undergraduate student enrolled in a full-time or part-time capacity and in good standing at Winona State University
2. Each recipient must be a declared major
3. Each recipient must be a freshman, sophomore, junior, senior or 5th year student
4. Each recipient must have a G.P.A of 3.0 or higher. However, an individual’s grade point average should not be considered primary criteria
5. Each recipient must demonstrate financial need, but need should not be based solely on FAFSA.
6. Each recipient should be a single parent and have full or joint custody of dependent (s)
7. Each recipient must be an active member of the Student Parent Support Initiative
8. As part of the application process for this scholarship, the student must submit an essay describing the following:
a. Explain your financial need and why this scholarship will make a difference.
b. Explain your future goals and career aspirations.
c. Explain experiences connected with life occurrences which will help the committee understand your courage and devotion to obtaining an undergraduate degree and the impact it will have on your family
Gina O’Brien (2/21/1935-10/10/2015)
Gina was born during the Great Depression to a hard working farming family in Owatonna. When Gina was nine, her father was forced to quit farming due to the onset of muscular sclerosis, which eventually left him confined to a wheelchair for the remainder of his life. Gina also lost her mother early in life while attending Winona State University.
Quite uncommon for a young woman during these times, Gina earned full degree in education from Winona State. She then married and began building a family, while simultaneously pursuing a 35 year long successful career as an elementary school teacher, the great majority of which was spent in the same second-grade schoolroom in Farmington MN.
In the 1970s, Gina was challenged when she became a single mother fully responsible for her three children. Faced with some very difficult circumstances, Gina not only persevered, she also built a legacy for her own family, as well as the countless lives that she touched throughout her life.
Gina’s life continues to serve as an inspiration. She never dwelled on the many challenges that she faced, and she always had more to give to the less fortunate.