Scholarships help students rise on their way to realizing big dreams

Strong proponents of STEM education, Beth and Richard Gochnauer wanted to help students pursuing careers in those fields. To help students rise to their potential, the couple created the Beth and Richard Gochnauer Engineering Technology Scholarship. 

“Since Green Bay is historically a manufacturing town, it needs engineers for its success,” Beth Gochnauer said. “If students are educated in the community, they are more likely to remain in Northeastern Wisconsin, start businesses and raise families here.” 

UW-Green Bay sophomore Jackson Spoentgen is grateful he received the scholarship to support and encourage students studying science, technology, engineering and math. 

“I felt honored that my hard work was being noticed and rewarded,” he said. “It also meant I didn’t have to work as much during the school year and I could focus more on my school work.” 

Beth Gochnauer, a former biology teacher, first became involved with UW-Green Bay in 1974 and currently serves on the Council of Trustees, which collaborates, advises the chancellor on University initiatives and supports its mission. 

Now retired, Richard Gochnauer held top positions with multiple companies during his career, including serving as president of Schreiber Foods’ international division.   

Jackson Spoentgen
Jackson Spoentgen received a scholarship while a student at UW-Green Bay and is on his way to achieving a goal of becoming a researcher in the field of astrophysics.d plans to transfer to UW-Madison in fall 2023 to complete his studies in astrophysics. After that, he hopes to earn his PhD and become a researcher.  

“Our family believes in the importance of higher education for a community to thrive in a rapidly changing world,” Beth Gochnauer said. “We also believe education helps students be informed and productive members of society.” 

Spoentgen is finishing up his sophomore year at UW-Green Bay where he fulfilled requirements an

“Receiving the scholarship inspired me to do the best I can,” he said.  

Now living in California, the Gochnauers’ family roots go back several generations in Northeast Wisconsin, which continues to draw them back to the area and the University. 

In addition to the Beth and Richard Gochnauer Engineering Technology Scholarship, the couple supports the Phuture Phoenix program, which brings fifth- and eighth-graders on campus for a day where they shadow a student. She cited research indicating fifth grade is a pivotal year for students to think about their future adult lives. 

Providing scholarships to the students help them reach their goals, Gochnauer said. 

“It cannot be overstated how important scholarships are to the students, especially if you hear firsthand and learn their stories,” she said. “Hearing testimonies from graduates, teachers and administrators in the local schools… has had a huge impact on me.” 

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