The Value of Mensa Foundation Scholarships

As a member, I am proud to be a participant in the Mensa Foundation Scholarship Program. It gives us a means of reaching out to the community when encouraging students to apply for funds. What college student can’t use the extra money?

Even the smaller scholarships can be used to buy books, parking permits, meal tickets, and lab fees. For those who have not (yet) attended college, these are some of the “extras” that are not included in your tuition, which is just the beginning.

Those going for the higher degrees and increased financial aid are in even more need and can be blown away by a Mensa scholarship of “only” $600. Best of all, they are not restricted to only one year. I won scholarships two years in a row during my own college days. They are good for any level, from freshman undergrads to Ph.D. candidates.

I endowed the Charlotte Duggar Memorial Nursing Scholarship in memory of my mother. It is small, but every little bit helps. If you might consider endowing a scholarship, be advised that the Mensa Foundation makes it incredibly easy. You get to establish the rules.

In the case of the scholarship I endowed, applicants are required to possess a nursing license. Why? Because the attrition rate among nursing students is around 50 percent. Some cannot make the grades; others are turned off the first time they have to deal with an overflowing bedpan. I could not stand the thought of awarding the scholarship to students only to have them decide it was not for them.

In requiring applicants to have a license (either as an LPN/LVN or as an RN), I know they have been around the block and are much more likely to make it stick. This scholarship can be used for students going from LPN/LVN to RN, or RN to BSN, master’s, midwifery, nurse practitioner, anesthesia, or any of the other advanced-degree programs available to nurses. And, of course, it goes without saying, they must be in accredited programs. Our regional scholarship chair, Bertie Clarke, is herself, like me, a retired, old, worn-out, broken-down nurse. And I cannot express how much I treasure the relationship we have cultivated due to the scholarship program. When I told her I wanted to have a hand in selecting the winner for this scholarship, her response was, “OK, you’re a regional judge.”

Whenever our Local Group has a winner, we invite them and one guest to attend a dinner meeting as our guest. We get to meet and talk to them about their plans for the future. Their brightness and enthusiasm help to keep us oldsters young. They are young; they have their entire lives ahead of them. We are delighted to have a small part in it.

Mensa and the Mensa Foundation are like anything else in life. You get out of it exactly what you put into it. Participate, get involved. If you’re in a position to endow a scholarship, by all means do so. The Foundation will help you every step of the way. If you have a few extra bucks in your pocket, consider donating. Mensa Foundation scholarships are definitely a worthy cause, and it’s completely tax deductible.

Volunteer to help judge essays with your Local Group. It is an interesting and enjoyable way to spend some time and offers you a chance to get to know some of your fellow members. No, we cannot discuss the essays before and during judging; but we find them interesting, and we surely discuss them afterward. It costs nothing, other than a few hours of your time, and organizers make it as easy for us as they can, providing all the judging forms.

I’ve had the pleasure of receiving, judging essays for, and endowing Mensa Foundation scholarships. Each step has been rewarding.

Bunny Warsh headshotBunny joined Mensa when she was 28 and has been volunteering for ever since. She’s 71. After posting a “husband wanted” personal in the March 1980 Bulletin, that June she married the love of her life, Weird Al, and moved to southern California, where she was active in her Local Group. In 2006, she returned to Mobile and serves her Local Group there as Treasurer and a Proctor.

A two-time recipient of Mensa Foundation scholarships herself, Bunny since became heavily involved in scholarship judging and even endowed the Charlotte Duggar Memorial Nursing Scholarship. Her volunteer work for Mensa on a local, regional, and national level is too extensive to list. Bunny enjoys sewing, arts and crafts, and Scrabble and plays the piano with a lot more enthusiasm than talent.
South Coast Mensa | Life Member, Joined 1975