High school and college students with a learning disability pursuing a major in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields are eligible to apply for the recently created Joseph James Morelli Scholarship. The scholarship is in honor of MSU student Joseph James Morelli, who passed away during the fall semester.
Morelli had dyslexia and was in his third year pursuing a major in mechanical engineering. Katie Holleron, his friend of three years, described Morelli as loving school: “I’ve never seen someone walk out of the library with a smile after sitting there for ten hours studying, but Joe did.” She added that, “the only thing that got him down was when he didn’t do well on a calculus test.”
The scholarship is being administered through the Park City Community Foundation. The amount ranges from $1,000 – $2,000 and is renewable for up to four years. According to Allyson Willoughby, program coordinator in the Office of Disability, Re-Entry and Veteran Services, applicants must be a high school student that plans to attend MSU or a current MSU student with a diagnosed or presumed learning disability that wishes to pursue a major in the STEM field.
Started by the Morelli family, the scholarship is aimed to ease the burdens associated with a learning disability. In a letter written by Morelli’s mother, she detailed the scholarships purpose. “Through the Joseph James Morelli Scholarship Fund, we will be able to assist other learning disabled students pursuing a career in science and/or engineering. Such funds can help offset the costs of expensive testing, enable accommodations and help provide the necessary resources and tools to succeed.”
The Office of Disability, Re-Entry and Veteran Services is advertising the scholarship among other scholarships available for students with disabilities. Over 500 students currently utilize the disability branch of that office and receive various forms of assistance.