With support from the LAS Success Grant program and Sulentic Family Foundation, more students like Regine Peters are able to persist at Iowa State – and build on their success.
Regine Peters was 12 when she set her sights on a college degree.
She was inspired by her mother, Anicia, who had been accepted into the International Fulbright Science and Technology Program and moved her family from Windhock, Namibia, to Ames, Iowa, to pursue a doctorate in human computer interaction at Iowa State.
“I didn’t understand then the significance and sacrifice of my parents’ decision,” Peters says. “Growing up with a mother who decided at 37 to pursue her doctorate and insisted that she not move to a foreign land without her husband and children instilled the importance of education in my sister and me.”
That’s why, after Peters graduated from high school and returned with her family to Namibia, she immediately began applying to universities in the United States. She ultimately chose Iowa State, following in her mother’s footsteps.
“When it was time for me to start my studies, my mother didn’t let me choose comfort,” Peters says. “She encouraged me to dream beyond what she was able to achieve and assured me that I could fly. Honestly, making the decision to move and study an ocean away from my family was the easy part. When the realization set in that I was alone here, I finally began to understand my parents’ love for their children and the sacrifices they made, which paved the path on foreign soil for me to walk on.”
Attaining her Iowa State degree almost didn’t happen for her, though.
Peters explains that international students applying to U.S. universities must prove income enabling them to pay for their tuition on their visa application.
“Initially, my parents were able to afford my tuition, but as semesters passed, tuition increased and circumstances changed,” Peters says. “It became increasingly difficult to keep up with the tuition payments in order to register in time for the next semester.”
This is where the LAS Success Grant program came in, providing Peters with financial support enabling her to remain at Iowa State – and graduate.
The LAS Success Grant program provides much-needed emergency funds to undergraduates, lifting students out of immediate crisis. Established with a gift from the Sulentic Family Foundation in 2017, the program also offers personalized guidance, financial counseling and ongoing resources that keep students on track toward graduation.
“I might not have a degree in statistics or my current job if I hadn’t learned about the LAS Success Grant,” Peters says. “Without the donors who make this program work, it would have been a very rough ride for me.”
For Peters, the program also helped her build genuine relationships. Since graduating in December 2020, she’s built on those relationships in Iowa State’s Graduate College as a program specialist for the McNair Program, which prepares students from underrepresented backgrounds for graduate school.
Ultimately, Peters’ career enables her to pay forward the support she received from the LAS Success Grant program by helping other students like her.
“There are so many students on this campus from so many walks of life, and one of the things we have in common is that we need help,” she says. “Through the LAS Success Grant, donors change worlds.”