Finding community during grief
Ten days before her scheduled arrival on campus for volleyball practices as a freshman, Whitney (Leisner ’16) Peterson’s dad passed away. Despite the uncertainty of how the future would play out, her family encouraged her to still come to NCU. She opted out of the intense schedule volleyball would require, but came to campus and found herself “at home” in Phillipps Hall.
There, Whitney found a supportive community and personal mentorship that inspired her to pursue leadership opportunities. She was able to stay in school with the help of a leadership scholarship and housing stipends she received by serving as an R.A. and A.R.D.
Support to the finish line
Unspeakable circumstances encircled Whitney again her senior year, when her mom passed away after a seven-year battle with cancer. Whitney was devastated and thought once again that she may have to sideline her education.
Unsure of what to do, Whitney met with Dean of Student Advocacy Erin White, who helped her apply for assistance from the Finish Fund. “I was in tears,” Whitney recalled, “to learn there was money to help. It meant I could stay…and alleviated a lot of burden I was already feeling.”
Continuing to succeed
Since her graduation in December, Whitney has been working in Student Development. She now has the support of her husband, Scott Peterson ‘14, and she leans on the Lord daily, learning “to rely on Him because I know He is the only way and the only strength.”
Whitney’s North Central story had chapters of unexpected life circumstances that could have derailed her education. But being part of NCU’s supportive community, plus receiving tangible financial support at critical times, allowed her to stay on track.
She remains grateful for the financial help she received, and has a simple message for those who have supported students: “Thank you for giving to North Central.”