Program to Retain UB Graduates in WNY Celebrates Its Largest Scholarship Class

Twenty-five UB scholars will receive a total of about $500,000 to explore career opportunities in Western New York

Release Date: July 5, 2012 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Twenty-five University at Buffalo students eyeing careers in Western New York will receive full scholarships in 2012-13 through a program designed to retain university graduates in the region.

The Western New York Prosperity Scholarship, which launched in 2009, promotes economic growth and sustainability by acquainting entrepreneurial, civic-mind students with career opportunities in local industries. The program is funded by the Prentice Family Foundation.

This year's scholarship class is the largest and best prepared yet, said Regina Toomey, UB senior associate vice provost for undergraduate education.

Together, the new awardees will receive a total of about $500,000 to cover their unmet costs of attending UB and to support summer internships at some of the region's leading companies. The students will also get access to mentoring, networking events and other resources that help build professional skills.

"Many of our brightest, most ambitious students are devoted to Western New York, and this scholarship gives them the opportunity to understand the region's many career possibilities and how they can make a future positive impact on these," said A. Scott Weber, UB vice provost and dean of undergraduate education.

The Western New York Prosperity Scholarship is open to UB students enrolled in engineering, biomedical sciences, biotechnology and business administration. This year's recipients range from a mechanical engineer with research interests in renewable transportation technology to an MBA candidate who aspires to improve trade relations between the U.S. and Canada at the Niagara border.

Profiles of this year's scholars are available at

The Prentice Family Foundation's investment in the 2012-13 scholars is expected to bring the organization's contributions to the program to over $1 million, Toomey said.

She added that the scholarship complements other UB offerings that cultivate students' professional skills, such as the Entrepreneurship Academy, an undergraduate living and learning community that will launch this fall. Academy members will learn what it means to be an entrepreneur through coursework and real-world projects --experiences that will position students well to apply for the Prosperity Scholarship.

Past scholarship recipients have completed summer internships with regional companies and organizations including GE, New Era Cap, Milliken Research Associates, Roswell Park Cancer Institute and more.

"As a scholarship recipient, you get a lot of opportunities because you're exposed to leaders in Western New York, and the leaders see you as having values and a mission that aligns with what they want for the region," said Turner Gutmann, a former Prosperity Scholar who has landed a full-time job as an executive associate in M&T Bank's Customer Insights unit. "Doors open for you."

Gutmann, a 2012 UB MBA graduate, interned in 2011 at Life Technologies Corporation, a biotechnology company on Grand Island. As a Mandarin-speaker, Gutmann helped the company analyze pricing for products overseas, including in Asia. He also updated the look and feel of the firm's online catalog.

The internship, along with networking events during the school year, helped Gutmann develop a valuable professional network that strengthened his commitment to finding a job locally.

"The scholarship experience shaped my thinking when I was looking at jobs and opportunities," he said. "Staying in Western New York became my first priority because I saw the value of my network, which is a huge advantage."

Through activities that UB arranged for Prosperity Scholars, Gutmann was able to meet UB President Satish K. Tripathi and build a relationship with UB's Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership. Gutmann even landed consulting work with Refulgent Software, an app company, after talking with one of the founders at Innovate N' Caffeinate, a networking reception that takes place several times each semester at UB.

He credits Hadar Borden, administrative director of UB's Undergraduate Academies and administrator for the scholarship program, with creating unique opportunities for awardees to connect with Western New York's leaders.

Related Links:

About the Western New York Prosperity Scholarship:

About the UB Entrepreneurship Academy for undergraduates:

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Charlotte Hsu is a former staff writer in University Communications. To contact UB's media relations staff, email or visit our list of current university media contacts.