My name is Samantha Monson. I grew up in Madison and graduated from Madison East High School as a proud Purgolder in 2010. I received my undergraduate degree from UW-Madison in Legal Studies with a certificate in Environmental Studies in May 2014 and very recently in August 2020, I again graduated UW-Madison with my graduate degree in Environmental Conservation. My love for learning and higher education knows no limits; I would be in school forever if it was a feasible option. The Arndt family scholarship only strengthened my love of education.
The support of the Arndt family scholarship sent me into my first years of college with a mindset that allowed me to explore my interests and passions without the impending threat of debt and with a sense of financial freedom, something I hope all students can feel as they enter this new chapter of their lives. The scholarship requirements also set me on a path to challenge myself, maintain focus, and dedicate my four years to making my academic dream a success.
Being an Arndt scholar has instilled the desire to give back to my community. Between my degrees, I worked as a paralegal at a law firm that handled cases pertaining to children’s immigration, LGTBQIA+ family formation, transgender rights and advocacy for children with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). I have always wanted to be a part of something bigger and lend my hand and skills in a way that increases social justice and allows me to make connections with my community. In May 2021, I began a new role as the Executive Assistant to the Director of Financial Aid here at UW-Madison. I am honored to be on a team working to increase access to higher education and hope to have the chance to meet many more Arndt scholars!