Inaugural Winner of Joan Behr Rural Opportunities Scholarship Announced

Melissa Srnka of Algoma, Wis. was awarded $1000 towards her education as the Joan Behr Wisconsin Rural Opportunities Foundation, Inc. (WORF) Board Scholar. She was selected from over 300 applicants from rural Wisconsin.   “This scholarship directly reflects all of my hard work in community service, sports, academics, and 12 years of schooling,” says Srnka. “With this scholarship, I am able to lighten my financial burden and focus on the most important part of my schooling, learning.”  

Srnka is the daughter of Scott and Tina Srnka. She graduated top of her class from Algoma High School and is now attending the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay pursuing an education in physical therapy. “UW-Green Bay will allow me to make connections for my future in the workforce by being connected to the Green Bay Packers and Bellin Health,” she states.     

Being the fourth generation on the family’s dairy farm in a rural community, Srnka developed a strong work ethic and bond with the community. She is quick to lend a hand and volunteer as demonstrated by donating her fair project winnings one year to a local family facing rising debt due to medical expenses. It is ties like this, that draw Srnka back to her community upon the completion of her six years of education and training. Additionally, as a physical therapist, she will be providing a needed service to this rural Wisconsin area.     

During her high school tenure, Srnka was involved in softball, National Honor Society, Student Council and was a student mentor. Additionally, coached middle school basketball and was instrumental in the remodeling of the music rooms at her school. In her free time, she enjoys band, choir, triathlons and working with dairy cattle.   The WROF is honored to announce the inaugural class of board scholars. Nine rural Wisconsin students were selected to receive a scholarship that is funded and supported by a board member of the WROF.  

“Knowledge is the foundation of success. My hope is that this award will allow our students to focus on their education and personal development, rather than worry about funding their education. By helping them achieve their personal education dreams, they will be able to contribute to the future success of rural Wisconsin”, says Joan Behr, the WROF President and scholar sponsor.  

Since 1934, the Wisconsin Rural Opportunities Foundation, Inc. has invested in the education of people from rural Wisconsin so they, in turn, can transform and improve the economic health and quality of life in their rural areas. As a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation, more than 6000 individuals have received over $6.2 million in scholarships and grants in agricultural and rural health care education in over 30 different Wisconsin educational institutions and programs.