Van Gunten wins Gates Millenium Fund Scholarship
RONAN — A Ronan High School student is among the students picked
from 23,000 minority students who applied to receive a Gates Millennium
It was a thrilling moment as 18-year-old Alice Van Gunten of
Pablo learned she would become a Gates Millennium Scholar, an honor
that includes a scholarship funded by billionaire Microsoft founder
"Really happy and I started crying and my mom started crying and it was really exciting," said Alice VanGunten.
The Ronan senior will get a full-ride scholarship to any college
that accepts her application. The scholarship will cover her costs
through Ph.D. studies. Without it, mom Renee Van Gunten says Alice's
choices would have been limited.
"She would probably be going to a lot smaller school, maybe
closer to home. Now she can excel and go anywhere she chooses to go."
It's no easy task being named a Gates scholar. Alice is one of
just 150 Native Americans to earn the honor out of 23,000 minority
students who applied.
Alice is a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai
tribes and had to meet certain criteria, such as a 3.3 GPA and adequate
ACT and SAT test scores. Besides the application and essays, Alice had
to be nominated, but she says all the hard work paid off.
"It's a once in a lifetime opportunity because you can only get
it as a freshman or like going to be a freshman. There's no retries and
there's not a lot of scholarships that give you a full ride for your
Alice plans to study pre-med at Washington State University in
the fall. Her goal is to become a doctor and return to the Flathead
Reservation to help her community.