How Scholarships Help: Annie Sinner ’16

8 May 2015

Annie Sinner ’16
Joanne Zack ’76 Scholarship Fund

As a first-generation, low-income student, Annie Sinner ’16 knows she’s a minority on campus. And she’s passionate about why that needs to change.

“There should be more economic diversity on campuses everywhere—it’s not just a Carleton issue,” Annie says. “It’s so important because along with income comes your family’s education and background. We all assume we have the same opinions, especially politically and socially, but we don’t.”

Annie sees these differences arise in class from time to time. For example, in one of her classes, students were discussing organic farming. All the students expressed the belief that everyone should buy organic food—all, that, is except Annie. She pointed out that for people surviving on a Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program (what used to be called food stamps), organic food is far too expensive. Her firsthand experience with the theoretical discussion opened a lot of students’ eyes.

Many of the social issues her classes cover are personal for her, Annie says, and she’d like to see Carleton increase the number of low- and middle-income students on campus. That way, more viewpoints and more experiences can be shared in and out of class discussions, broadening everyone’s horizons.  

Similar to the organic food dilemma, most students would love to attend the best college possible but simply can’t afford to. Happily for Annie, several generous scholarship donors have established funds to make Carleton accessible to all. Now in her junior year and a sociology/anthropology major, Annie appreciates the strong sense of support and community on campus.

“It is crazy how there are all these supports for me by individuals and groups that I will never even get to meet though they’re contributing to one of the most significant opportunities of my life,” Annie says.

While scholarship donors are a crucial piece of the puzzle, educational access programs such as TRIO and College Possible, which are designed to help low-income, first-generation college students navigate the higher education landscape, are just as important. 

“My friends can talk to their parents about advice or homework or job applications, and I can’t,” Annie says. “They all have different resources that I don’t have.”

Because of both her experiences and her interests, Anne says she finds herself drawn to opportunities dealing with educational equality. She’s been a Northfield TORCH tutor, helping lower-income students prepare for the ACT and bridge the achievement gap, and she is considering becoming a College Possible counselor or joining AmeriCorps.

“I really believe in opening doors to come here. Enabling a student to come to a school like Carleton is fostering somebody’s talent who is then going to contribute to the world in a positive way,” Annie says.

“Carleton would not even by on my radar if there didn’t exist wonderful individuals like my donors who are willing to make this a reality for students like me.”

Anne Sinner '16

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