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Scholarship winner eyes career in broadcast journalism
Story by Rebecca Olson.
Doug Mecham never liked the radio—at least the kind that only plays the same songs over and over again. Talk radio, though, is a different story. The 26-year-old PCC student is all about tuning in and talking turkey.
While listening to a local sports broadcaster a few years ago, he found that he couldn’t hold his tongue. “I was listening to this sports show and I just felt like I absolutely had to chime in,” Mecham said.
“I’ve always been really into physical activities like basketball and playing music. I had never thought of myself as much of a communicator, but after that first time I called in to the radio, I realized that I really love to communicate and build dialogue between people. There’s something really special about talk radio that lets you do that directly.”
After that he just kept calling in. He also made it a goal to improve as a communicator, and enrolled in PCC to earn credits towards his goal of getting a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism.
Mecham currently works at the PCC Sylvania bookstore to support himself while he’s taking classes, but he’s also sought extra financial support for his education by applying for scholarships through the PCC Foundation. Because of his interest in music and radio, he was selected to receive the 2014 Howard Butzer Scholarship—a special fund for students with demonstrated financial need who show an interest in music or theater.
“I figured I shouldn’t give up on my dreams before I event started. That’s why receiving this scholarship has meant so much to me—it’s proof that there are people out there who believe in me.”
More than 40 precent of PCC students have to take on the burden of student loans to finance their education. And for many, financial aid is simply not enough. This is why student scholarships through the PCC Foundation are so important. Scholarships recognize students’ hard work, provide encouragement to persist in their studies and give hope that they can achieve their dreams. The Foundation is currently hosting its Faculty, Staff and Retiree Campaign to raise money for scholarships. To give to this year’s campaign, visit the PCC Foundation webpage.
Mecham’s scholarship is one of four funds supported by longtime PCC supporters Howard Butzer and Robert Wimmer. A retiree who taught for thirty years in PCC’s German and Russian language departments, Wimmer was also a pioneer of PCC’s study abroad programs.
After retiring and moving south to California, Wimmer wanted to find a way to keep giving back to the students that he missed seeing every day in the classroom. He and Butzer, his partner of 32 years, decided to create scholarships for students who need extra financial support in order to attend college.
“We don’t have children of our own, so we especially want to support kids who feel they’re out of options,” Wimmer said. “We especially want to help students who might have been disenfranchised from their families because they’re gay, but our scholarships are open to any student who need the support.”
In addition to supporting scholarships in their names, Wimmer and Butzer have also included the PCC Foundation in their estate plans as members of the Amo DeBarnardis Legacy Society.
“It just feels so right to be doing something like this,” Wimmer said. “It’s the right thing to do, and we’re proud that this is part of our legacy.”