The ESTEEM Graduate Program Launches New Scholarship with Support from the Jacobson Trust

Author: Maura Sullivan Hill '11

The ESTEEM Graduate Program has a new scholarship, thanks to financial support from the Jacobson Trust, a Florida-based organization that provides scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students across the U.S.

The first recipient of this $10,000 scholarship is Lauren Walker ’22, who majored in environmental engineering with a minor in energy studies at the University of Notre Dame.

Walker wants to use her engineering background to create and scale projects that impact people — like the tricycle she and a team of fellow engineering undergraduates retrofitted with a special shortened pedal for a little girl named Anastasia, who has a prosthetic leg. With the adjustments, Walker and her classmates made to the bike, Anastasia, a patient at South Bend’s Saint Joseph Hospital, can now ride without any issues with her leg.

“I’ve been involved with a few projects that worked at the intersection of business and engineering, and I was really inspired by the impact they were able to have — to scale ideas in a way that makes them financially feasible,” says Walker, who is from Indianapolis. That interest is what led her to another year in South Bend after graduation and the ESTEEM Graduate Program.

Walker wants to work in clean energy and sustainability, and the Jacobson Trust Scholarship will help her start her career without the stress of additional loans.

“It’s $10,000 that I don’t have weighing on me, and my family and I won’t have to worry about,” says Walker, who will graduate from ESTEEM in the Spring of 2023. “It will help me start off my career not having to worry about a ton of debt, which will allow me to make decisions aligned with where I want my career to go, and not having to compromise because of financial obligations.”

"We are thrilled for --- and very appreciative of -- this generous commitment from the Jacobson Charitable Trust to support our very talented ESTEEM graduate students as they undertake this very unique and compelling Professional Masters Program here at the University of Notre Dame," says David Murphy, Assistant Provost and Executive Director of the ESTEEM Graduate Program.  "Lauren is an exceptional talent not only for her academic achievements but for the care and commitment she has made to positively impact the lives of others in need -- and we know going forward that other similar students will have the opportunity to compete for the Jacobson Award and potentially secure additional funding to help them and their families in paying for their graduate education." 

The Jacobson Trust, which is named for the late Robert and Deborah Jacobson, uses funds from the Jacobsons’ estate to award scholarships to high-achieving students who demonstrate leadership, volunteerism, and financial need.

“Lauren is everything we were looking for,” says Ann Henry, who works with the Trust. “Her undergraduate academic record is very good. And another thing that really spoke to me is her work at the local hospital, helping retrofit toys for children with different physical needs. She’s community oriented, and we want students who are going to give back in one form or another, students who are not just in it for themselves.”