Student Success

Next Generation of Computer Innovation

OU alumna establishes scholarship for excellence in computer science

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icon of a calendarNovember 23, 2020

icon of a pencilBy Catherine Ticer

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Amy (Kwiecinski) McGowan’s decision to attend Oakland University continued a family legacy. But, what sets McGowan’s story apart from most is that the educational tradition was started by her mother, Carol Kwiecinski, who graduated at the age of 57 — only one semester before her daughter.

“She inspired and encouraged me to be individualistic, and attending Oakland University was one of the results from that support,” says McGowan, who graduated in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science in computer science. “The expectation was that I was always going to go to school and get a degree.”

McGowan says her decision to major in computer science was an economic one, influenced by the career opportunities available in the field. “My parents did not pay for my tuition and I did not have a scholarship. I knew I needed to be gainfully employed following graduation,” she says. “Oakland University and the computer science program, in particular, opened up a whole new world for me.”

Although McGowan now lives in Sarasota, Florida, she says visiting campus is like coming home. She is inspired by what is happening in the School of Engineering and Computer Science and wants to find a meaningful way to help students pursue degrees in computer science.

McGowan established the Amy Kwiecinski McGowan Scholarship for Excellence in Computer Science. Recipients of the renewable four-year scholarship will be incoming freshman with a declared major in computer science and a minimum 3.2 GPA.

“It gives me great joy to fund this scholarship and help aspiring computer scientists start their journey in this rewarding field.”

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