Robert Bjorklund Life Sciences Communication Scholarship

Jane Bjorklund established this scholarship in memory of her brother, Robert Bjorklund. Bob was a 1949 graduate of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and his career focused on writing about agriculture and farm life. He was farm editor of the Wisconsin State Journal for almost 40 years. In 1988 Bob was named Agriculturist of the Year and in 1989 he received Honorary Recognition from the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, the highest award bestowed by the College.

Congratulations to our 2021-2022 Robert Bjorklund scholarship recipients, listed below in alphabetical order.

Hannah Christianson

Majors: Life Sciences Communication and Microbiology

Hometown: Townsend, WI

I am extremely grateful to be receiving the Robert Bjorklund LSC Scholarship. As a student who is paying their tuition and living expenses completely on their own, this scholarship lifts a huge burden off of my shoulders. Especially during these difficult times, receiving such a generous scholarship will truly change my college experience. With this scholarship I will be able to focus more on my studies and less on my source of income. I will be able to work less hours at my current job, which allows me to pursue better grades, and participate and hold leadership positions in my student organizations. I cannot express how much gratitude I have in my heart for receiving this scholarship.

Future goals: I am a pre-med student and plan on applying to medical school after graduation with a goal of earning a masters of public health simultaneously and becoming an Intensivist in the ICU or an Ob/Gyn.  Along with my career as a physician, I plan to focus on being a public health and patient advocate by staying up to date on current legislation and actively educating those around me on pertinent policy. Through LSC, I have learned how scientists and doctors can effectively communicate with the public or their patients to create a lasting and trustworthy relationship. LSC has been especially pertinent during the pandemic and has taught me to facilitate discussion on somewhat controversial topics. In the future I hope to use my voice as a physician to call for healthcare for all and address the underlying healthcare barriers that disproportionately affect minority communities.

Justine Morgan

Majors: Life Sciences Communication & Religious Studies

Hometown: Lodi, WI

This scholarship is a huge honor that I don’t take lightly. While COVID-19 has impacted me and my ability to work in the health care field, this scholarship does so much more that just help with that. As I am going into my senior year, I want to be able to focus on my academics even more than I have previously. I want to spend more time writing, whether that be in a formal setting or a personal one. I also have to start preparing for my life after graduation and this scholarship allows me to do that. I hope to be able to spend time volunteering in a hospital, if the COVID-19 situation allows me to. I also plan on spending time shadowing a PA in my hometown, which has been difficult in the past because of work commitments.

Future goals: My goal is to go to Physicians Assistant school and create a career where I would be able to tie in the communication skills  along with the knowledge I have gained about how different religions view science and health care and how that can impact decision making. If this plan does not play out or if my mind changes, I hope to find a job as a science writer somewhere where I can still explore this concept of tying religion and science together in order to educate those who might be unaware of this connection and how it can influence someone’s thought process.

Tala Shaibi

Majors: Neurobiology & Life Sciences Communication with a certificate in Biocore Core Curriculum

Hometown: Elgin, IL

The Robert Bjorklund LSC Scholarship is a huge honor as it will relieve some of my financial stress next year and allow me to participate more freely in volunteer and work-related opportunities as I will not have to worry about transportation and material costs as much. Additionally, this scholarship will help me pay for my MCAT prep course and books and, in turn, provide me with support and set me up for success as I apply to medical schools in the near future.

Future goals: I am planning on attending medical school after graduation and am specifically interested in becoming an OB/GYN but am still exploring other specialties, such as Orthopedic Surgery. Not only will being a physician feed my passion for science and medicine, but I will also be able to support women through my work. I also plan to teach at a medical school so I might consider getting a masters of education. I love sharing my story and helping other people reach their goals and as a professional mentor, I will be able to do just that.