2008 Balloon Race scholarship winners named

8/15/2008 - By: Patrick McDonnell

The profession of educating and counseling young students motivates the pair of new University Balloon Race Scholarship recipients selected this month.

The University Balloon Race Scholarship Committee awarded Elizabeth Cadigan, a 21-year-old senior music education major from Reno, and Matthew Schottel, a 27-year-old counseling and education psychology student from Fallon, its annual $2,000 scholarships, presented in conjunction with the Sept. 5-7 Great Reno Balloon Race.

Cadigan, a Hug High School graduate and trombone player, said music has inspired her for years, and she hopes to share the medium’s ability to help young people learn.

“Music is an important part of my life,” she said. “It’s how I express how I am the best.”

Cadigan, who also plays the bassoon, explained how an instrumental “petting zoo” she conducted last March for six classes of young students while president of the University chapter of Collegiate Music Educators National Conference made music more accessible to area elementary schoolchildren. Community service is one criterion for the award.

“We went to two different elementary schools to visit fifth graders,” she said. “Then we got some strings, brass and winds so they could see all different kinds of instruments and how they sound.”

Schottel, in the last year of his master’s degree program, wants to provide counseling services to students in Nevada’s rural areas. Since November 2007, he has been working as a psychosocial rehabilitation counselor for Reno’s Alliance Family Services. He helps elementary school-age children practice social skills, assists their anger management as well as teaches them coping, communication and study skills.

“I was really excited to hear about the scholarship,” the prospective May 2009 graduate said. “It will be a great relief off of my shoulders. I feel fortunate to get this opportunity.”

The committee, comprised of current and former campus faculty and staff as well as friends of the University, is once again selling its $5 balloon pins and $1 scholarship benefit drawing tickets in anticipation of the 27th balloon race festival at Rancho San Rafael Regional Park. The committee (in its 22nd year) raises the money to award the two $2,000 scholarships, one to an undergraduate student and one to a graduate student at the university.

Through the support of the Nevada intercollegiate athletics department, the committee is also selling a separate $5 grand prize ticket, which enters buyers into a drawing to win two tickets to the Wolf Pack’s Sept. 27 football game at UNLV. In addition to the game tickets, the winner will fly with the team to Las Vegas and receive one night’s lodging (Sept. 26).

The committee annually designs a new balloon pin and secures scholarship benefit drawing prizes from the community, including balloon rides, posters, race jackets and more. The prize drawing will be held at noon Wednesday, Sept. 3 on the Joe Crowley Student Union Plaza.

During the drawing, the committee raffles six balloon rides for use during race weekend in the university’s sponsored balloon. Other prizes include tickets for Wolf Pack football, golf packages, several restaurant gift certificates, and a one-hour massage.

Log on to the committee’s website for more information and a list of scholarship benefit drawing ticket and pin sellers near you or to see this year’s pin.

Next month, the university balloon will launch at 7:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 4 from the Quad with special guests as passengers during the race’s Media Day activities.

The committee also staffs a Great Reno Balloon Race hospitality tent and takes $5 donations for its balloon pins daily during race weekend.


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