Klemmack scholarship honors outstanding UMD student
By Manda Lillie
Friends meeting, talking and sharing stories fill the air of Sarah's Table in Duluth's Chester Park neighborhood. Meeting for the first time and sharing their stories are Mylli Pukema and David Klemmack, a scholarship recipient and donor.
Named after his parents, David began the Virginia and Matt Klemmack Scholarship to give back to the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). "UMD gave me an awful lot," he said. This CLA scholarship is awarded to students with academic merit and financial need.
David came to UMD from a high school with only three academic programs. He said he was unprepared and received poor grades at first, but gradually his grades began to improve as he worked toward a degree in chemical engineering.
He recalls Walter Beaumler, a professor in the sociology department, looking out for him during his time at UMD. "He encouraged me very early to think about graduate school in sociology," David said. Walter went on to help David receive his minor in sociology.
Then, David decided to attend the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. There, Ross Rosse, a stats professor at the time, encouraged David to consider getting involved in the stats program.
David graduated in 1966 with a degree in psychology and sociology. He went on to teach at Virginia Tech, and then he move to Colorado to teach there.
Eventually, he ended up at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, where he became Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences. He has since retried and enjoys traveling with his wife, Cindy, and their children.
As the conversation switched to traveling, Mylli discussed her experiences. As a senior majoring in both English and international studies, with a minor in German, she has seen her fair share of the world. She spent her last summer in Germany and Turkey.
"I initially chose to major in English because I love literature," Mylli said. "I think having a genuine interest in what you study is the most important thing to consider in choosing a major. I added the international studies major and German studies minor later on, after I had taken a few classes and realized I was interested in the world of politics and other cultures."
Mylli is currently working on a UROP that discusses how immigrants play a crucial role in Germany's population. She has lived in Duluth for the past eight years, but she grew up in Lakeside, Wis., just outside of Superior
Currently, Mylli is a member of the Air National Guard, Duluth's 148th Fighter Wing. She chose to attend UMD because she lives and works in the area.
Mylli made the dean's list in the fall of 2011 and will be giving a presentation as a part of The Alworth Brown Bag Series about the findings of her UROP. This lecture series is designed to create an environment where students and staff can discuss global issues and relay experiences.
Mylli said that she was honored to receive the scholarship, not only because of the monetary help, but also because the "selection for a scholarship validates the hard work and time I devote to my education."
"I'm grateful to alumni who choose to donate scholarship funds as a way to assist the current students of their Alma mater," Mylli said. "I hope to be in a position someday to pay forward the generosity that helped me get where I am."
Stories and anecdotes about traveling abroad were shared as the lunch came to an end, and Mylli and David shook hands. UMD's past and future, together, contributing to the betterment of the educational community.