BTC Foundation Announces New Full-Ride Scholarship

September 2, 2020

Blackhawk Technical College Foundation announced on Sept. 2, 2020, the creation of a new scholarship to fully fund two students beginning in Jan. 2021. The IDEAL Opportunity Scholarship includes funds to cover the cost of tuition and books, a paid internship with a community partner, a cost of living stipend, support through their internship, and mentoring from a faculty member. The City of Janesville police Department, Frito Lay, and Shine Medical Technologies will be Premier Partners for the program offering students paid internship opportunities during their program of study. In addition to hosting an intern, Frito Lay has generously made a $5,000 donation to the scholarship fund.  

I.D.E.A.L. stands for Inclusion – Diversity – Equity – Accessibility - Launch and is a concerted effort to increase educational and employment opportunities for historically marginalized members of our community including persons of color who are low-income and may be first-generation college students. The program is designed to support full-time enrolled students as they work toward degree completion in designated, high-need areas; such as Industrial Maintenance Mechanic, Electromechanical Technology, Automated Systems Technology, Nuclear Technology, and Criminal Justice.

Renea Ranguette, in a facemask, address audience at the announcement

The scholarship program was the idea of Blackhawk’s Vice President of Administrative Services, Renea Ranguette. As a first-generation college student, she knows firsthand how education can transform lives. Based on her experience she dreamt of a wrap-around scholarship that would give a student full tuition, cover books and supplies, set them up with a job opportunity, provide mentoring, and give them a stipend to live on.

“As a member of a federally recognized Indian tribe (Sault Sainte Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians), I was eligible for a substantial higher education scholarship to cover my cost of living expenses while attending school. That support was instrumental in allowing me to stay the course and complete my degree,” said Ranguette.

The selected students will receive $12,000-$18,000 in tuition assistance, supplies, living expenses, and salary from their internships. Providing students with the additional components of living expenses and mentoring will help relieve some of the burdens underserved students face while working toward their educational goals. Supplemental cost of living scholarship support is vital for student success and degree completion since responsibilities outside of class can be the single greatest barrier to student success.

Ranguette is passionate about the transformational power of education. “Over the years I have reflected upon the impact that scholarship support has had on my life, but not just mine… it has also altered the trajectory of my children’s lives, and now my grandchildren’s lives. I can truly say that scholarship support resulted in generational change.”

First-generation college students may struggle to navigate the financial and/or the emotional structures of higher education. Through mentorship, faculty and internship staff will connect with the students to identify challenges that may inhibit success. These can include navigating life challenges that may derail program completion, guidance in handling work experience challenges, and offering support to overcome course work challenges (tutoring referral, etc.). By removing some of these barriers to education and providing additional support, this scholarship aims to provide our community partners with quality employees who might not otherwise have had such an opportunity.

The IDEAL Opportunity Scholarship is available to two students this first year. Students eligible for the program should:

  • Plan to begin their studies at Blackhawk in the spring of 2021,
  • Be able to commit to internship hours (10-15 hours/week during the school semester, 25-40 hours/week during winter and summer breaks),
  • Apply for admissions to Blackhawk Technical College,
  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and
  • Obtain a referral from a community-based organization.

This scholarship opportunity will open for community referrals from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15. Candidate interviews will be conducted in November and an announcement of the first two I.D.E.A.L. Opportunity Scholars will be made in December of 2020.

For more information about the scholarship, contact Lisa Hurda, BTC Foundation Director at or (608) 757-7704.

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