Gonzales, a native of Junction City, Ore., was selected on the basis of academic excellence, character, leadership and service experience. He will receive an annual scholarship of $8,000 for his remaining years of college, along with ongoing mentoring and the ability to attend annual conferences with Kemper Scholars from across the country.
“I was surprised to receive the news, but incredibly excited as well because the application, interview and waiting period was a long process,” Gonzales says. “It’s an extraordinary honor to be a Kemper Scholar. For me, the Kemper Scholars Program will be a way to develop skills necessary to work in the nonprofit field, or in any other field I choose.”
Gonzales will attend a conference in Chicago in August to meet other Kemper Scholars and discuss their experiences with the program. The following summer, he will intern for a Chicago nonprofit company — choosing from a selection of museums, public radio stations, theaters and other organizations.
During the summer of his junior year, Gonzales will intern at a for-profit company of his choosing, and has the potential to travel abroad.
“For my for-profit internship, I hope to work for a social entrepreneurship, which is a socially conscious business,” he says. “I’m not totally sure what I will be doing for my internships, but I am excited for the possibilities to work with a diverse group of students from across the country.”
Gonzales became a varsity soccer player during his freshman year at Willamette. Through the team, he’s volunteered with Habitat for Humanity. He’s studying history, politics and Spanish, and is interested in either working for a nonprofit group or exploring a career in education.
Each year, 18 students are chosen for the Kemper Scholars Program. Willamette University is one of 16 schools allowed to nominate students for the opportunity.
For more information about this and other student scholarships, see the Office of Student Academic Grants and Awards.