School of Business Administration

Education, resources, scholarships and involvement pave path for first-generation college student

icon of a calendarJanuary 10, 2019

icon of a pencilBy Liz Lent

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Education, resources, scholarships and involvement pave path for first-generation college student

young woman seated, smiling and gazing off to the side
Crestmark scholarship recipient Clare Grzegorzewski, MIS major, discovered resources, support, a home and a future at Oakland University.

Using the odds stacked against her as motivation, Clare Grzegorzewski was determined to attend and succeed in college. Now a senior Management Information Systems major with a full-time position waiting for her after graduation, Grzegorzewski is simultaneously reaping the rewards of her resilience in the face of adversity while helping others find their way.

In her sophomore year of high school, Grzegorzewski and her sisters faced the heartbreaking loss of their parents, who both passed away within weeks of each other. In the face of this personal tragedy, Grzegorzewski persisted, finishing high school and researching colleges. At Oakland University, the Hamtramck native discovered resources, support, a home and a future. “Oakland is exceptionally helpful in providing assistance for many students who feel lost as I did,” she says.

A first-generation college student who has worked steadily since her junior year of high school, Grzegorzewski wasted no time getting deeply involved on campus. In addition to her academic coursework, she is a Business Ambassador, a peer-to-peer tutor, vice president of the Association for Information Systems, and a member of the Women in Business and Glee Club.

A full course load, community involvement and a job to help pay for school makes Grzegorzewski eligible for a number scholarships, including the prestigious Crestmark  scholarship.

“Oakland’s Business School is full of extremely talented students. Being selected to receive this award was a defining experience for me,” said Grzegorzewski. “Crestmark’s investment gave me the flexibility to dedicate more time to academic and volunteer activities on campus.” 

In 2016, Crestmark, headquartered in Troy, Michigan, marked its 20th anniversary by creating a $100,000 scholarship fund to help ease the financial burden of deserving juniors and seniors majoring in business at Oakland University. The fund awards $20,000 in scholarships a year through 2020. Crestmark was acquired by Sioux Falls-based MetaBank® in 2018, which also believes in a philosophy of helping


“Thanks to the Crestmark scholarship I’ve been able to explore personal and career interests, which put me in a better position to enter the job market,” she says. The proof: Grzegorzewski has been hired for a full-time position in IT consulting at KPMG, LLP, after her spring graduation.

“The best part of my experience as an OU business student has been the intimacy of the program,” she says. “The professors and advisors here have a genuine interest in seeing the students succeed. I made lasting connections with the faculty. I know I can continue to depend on them as a resource as I begin my career.”

“OU has given me access to so many opportunities. I want to give back in a meaningful way,” she says. “I would not be where I am today without the support of the campus community at Oakland University.”

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