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Return on Investment:  Chesapeake Energy Scholars Program

Gifts in Action StorySenior Economics major Megan Sardis knew she had just received big honor when she was selected as one of the 25 Chesapeake Energy Scholars for 2007.

"It's great that there is a way to recognize students who do hard work and get involved on campus.  It makes you feel special," Sardis said.

The Chesapeake Energy Scholars Program offers 25 $1000 scholarships to UCO students.  Funded by the Oklahoma City-base Chesapeake Energy Corporation, the scholarship application process is one of the more competitive at UCO.

Students should be juniors or senior with at least a 3.0 grade point average, have completed at least one full semester at UCO and have graduated from an Oklahoma high school (or have been home schooled in Oklahoma).

Chesapeake also believes the character of their scholars should reflect self-discipline, a strong work ethic and perseverance.  To demonstrate those values, each potential Chesapeake Scholar must write and submit a letter about himself or herself with the application.

"Chesapeake wants to help make Oklahoma one of the most competitive states in the nation.  One way to do that is to invest in the education of those who stand to make an impact on our state," said Tom Price, senior vice president of development for Chesapeake.

"We are also looking for the best and brightest students to possibly become employees of Chesapeake in the future.  This is a great way to build relationships that can become careers."

UCO is the second largest provider of college graduates to the Chesapeake Energy team, with nearly 200 UCO alumni currently employed by the company, including two members of its senior management team, Martha Burger, treasurer and senior vice president of corporate and human resources, and Tom Price, senior vice president of corporate development.  Both Burger and Price serve on the UCO Foundation's board of trustees.

Megan said Chesapeake's investment definitely strikes an interest in the company and what it can offer in the way of internships and jobs after graduation. 

"It's encouraging to know people outside of UCO are investing in students like me.  They see the difference a college education makes in our lives."

(Photo:  Megan Sardis, a senior economics major from Midwest City, is one of the 2007 Chesapeake Energy Scholars)