By Omar Sofradzija, communications manager
It was a chance to help. That’s all Megan Reimel needed to know.
“The first time I met Professor Paulette Stenzel (Spartan Global Development Fund faculty advisor, personal mentor, and role model to Reimel), she had mentioned something that will stick with me for the rest of my life: ‘You may not be able to change the world, but you can change somebody’s world,’” Reimel once said, according to a faculty letter.
“After a cup of coffee and an intriguing few hours of conversation with Scott Lyman (SGDF president from 2016–18), I was convinced I had stepped into one of the most amazing organizations at MSU,” Reimel continued. “With the compassion and culture found amongst SGDF, I recognized immediately that this was where I could continue to make one difference at a time.”
So started the Eli Broad College of Business supply chain management junior’s journey with the SGDF, a student-run group providing microloans to aspiring entrepreneurs in impoverished corners of the world. And that journey took a deserving detour with her recent award of the Gupta Values Scholarship, which rewards students who demonstrate understanding and commitment to the core values of integrity, human dignity, and excellence in all that one does.
“Megan is an excellent candidate for the Gupta Values Scholarship program not only because of her proven commitment to positively advancing humanity, but her disposition towards continuous learning and service to others,” Stenzel, a professor of sustainability and international business law, and Kathy Petroni, associate dean for undergraduate programs and Deloitte/Michael Licata Professor of Accounting, wrote in a nominating letter for Reimel.
“Megan is dedicated to the improvement of herself and those around her. She is not afraid to ask questions, engage in difficult conversations, and take on complex projects. It is easy for students to rest on their previously achieved laurels – it is much more difficult to continue pushing forward and to persevere with humility towards a goal of continued education, success, and growth,” Petroni and Stenzel wrote.
Reimel has consistently pushed herself to explore her potential at MSU. During her first two years, the Honors College member has been active with the MSU Supply Chain Management Association, MSU Students Consulting for Nonprofit Organizations, MSU Tower Guard – Honors Society, and the MSU Golf Club, according to the nominating letter.
Her work with the SGDF – of which she is president for the 2018-19 school year – included a 10-day trip to Guatemala over the 2017–18 winter break to meet with microloan recipients. In total, the fund has given out more than $101,000 in loans ranging from $25 to $1,300 each to approximately 2,500 budding entrepreneurs in 72 countries around the world. The fund has a repayment rate of 99 percent.
“Learning how the lives of the individuals, families, and communities have all been impacted by something so small, it is encouraging to know that the continuation of what we do has an impact on hundreds of people beyond the initial investment,” Reimel said, according to the nominating letter.
The Gupta Values Scholarship was established in the 2016–17 academic year by Shashikant (Shashi) Gupta (MBA ’75, PhD Social Science ’80) and his wife, Margaret Gupta. The couple’s $2.5 million endowment provides scholarship beneficiaries with a renewable $5,000 scholarship, the opportunity to participate in at least two trips to the Washington, D.C., area to meet with the Guptas, participation in activities designed to foster deeper understanding of the core values, and up to $5,000 as one-time support for a significant engaged learning experience.
“We hope the students will live their lives in a good way and influence others, whatever path they choose to take,” Margaret Gupta said in 2016.
Sounds like Reimel is already well down that path.