Hope and a helping hand: the Miner Resilience Fund

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On April 28, 2020

Abigail Carr in London

Abigail Carr, a Missouri S&T junior in mechanical engineering, was studying at the Cork Institute of Technology in Ireland when the U.S. State Department’s Level 4 Travel Advisory sent her scrambling to get home after two months of her semester abroad.

“I had no idea where I was going to live upon my return,” says Carr, who faced a mandatory 14-day quarantine and could not go home to St. Louis because of high-risk family members. “I had already paid rent in Cork and was not receiving a refund, so I had little funds to support myself and no way to get a job.” 

Thanks to the Miner Resilience Fund, Carr received financial help with her flight fees and quarantine housing costs in Rolla. 

“Without this help, I would have been scrambling,” she says. “Thank you to all who have helped me and others during these stressful times.”

For many S&T students, the struggle between financial stability and insecurity is always present. COVID-19 has pushed the accelerator. In March, S&T established the Miner Resilience Fund to help with student emergency needs, online program development and other challenges triggered by the pandemic.

“The Miner Resilience Fund is a safety net for our students during this troubling time,” says Chancellor Mo Dehghani. “We have implemented extensive safety measures for our students and campus community, and now we are meeting our next challenge — building the resiliency required to weather this storm and recover from it.” 

The Miner Resilience Fund will help students meet basic needs with short-term financial assistance, support the university’s rapid expansion of online offerings, ease technology difficulties for students without reliable internet access and support other ongoing needs. 

For one student, a single father and U.S. Army veteran who started classes this past January, short-term financial assistance was a lifesaver. 

“I hit a tough couple of weeks,” says the retired Army officer, who turned to the Student Emergency Fund when his VA vocational rehabilitation support was late. “I just didn’t have the money for a utility bill and food.” With help from the fund, he paid the bill and made sure there was food on the table. “Now I’m rebuilding and things are better.”

A number of donors have stepped up to support the Miner Resilience Fund. University trustee and 1973 mathematics alumna Joan Woodard was one of the first“When we are faced with a global crisis, we need all hands on deck to help,” she says. 

Trustee Mike Bytnar wanted to provide hope. “The end of this semester has been devastating for students,” he says. “They need encouragement and support.” Bytnar earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1968 and a master’s degree in engineering management in 1973, both from S&T.

For Dehghani, the fund is “a bridge between the uncertainties of today and a stronger tomorrow.” To trustee and 1976 chemical engineering alumna Peggy Montana, that bridge is vital. 

“I worked my way through college with scholarships, a residence hall position and summer work,” Montana says. “The pandemic has taken away most of those opportunities for our students through no fault of their own.”

Support Miner resilience at give.mst.edu. For more information, contact Tory Verkamp, assistant vice chancellor for university advancement, at 573-341-6090 or verkampv@mst.edu.  

Learn more about the Student Emergency Fund. For more information, contact the student affairs office at stuaff@mst.edu or 573-341-4292.

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