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Mariq Stigler had always wanted to go to college, but he wasn’t always sure it would be possible.

“My family didn’t have the resources to send me to college,” Stigler said. “I’m a Kaufman Scholar, which is honestly the only reason I was able to attend Baker University. They funded my tuition. A lot of students in my area don’t have the opportunity to do that, and now, thanks to them, I’m going to become a college graduate.”

The Kauffman Scholarship program provides the opportunity to complete a college education to low-income students in public or charter schools in Kansas City, Missouri, and Kansas City, Kansas.

Stigler, who attended Central High School in Kansas City, Missouri, thought he would attend a large state school, but he decided to visit Baker after admissions counselor Clarence Scott visited his high school.

“I didn’t know what Baker was,” Stigler said, “but I thought I’d apply and give it a try. We toured campus and everything felt right. The size was perfect. Class sizes were under 20. It was a fresh, new environment. Back in the car with my dad on the ride home he asked what I thought, and I said Yes, I’m going to Baker.”

Stigler believes that ability to be involved in a variety of activities and the resulting sense of community are what make Baker special. He participated in cross country and track and field and served on the Executive Board of the Zeta Chi fraternity and the Interfraternity Council.

“I think the best part about Baker is it’s not hard to find your way or find yourself,” he said. “Obviously, for every student the path is a little different, and there are struggles that everybody has. I think, eventually, you will find your way and become the person that you really are, because Baker gives you that opportunity.”

Stigler, who majored in computer science and business, will participate in Commencement on Sunday, May 19, at 1 p.m. at the George F. Collins, Jr. Sports and Convention Center in Baldwin City. He has accepted a position with Sprint Corp. in the artificial intelligence department, and he plans to pursue a master’s degree in statistics within the next year.

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