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July 14, 2017
An excerpt of this story appears in the spring 2017 edition of the Northwest Alumni Magazine. To view the current issue of the magazine, click here.
A Nebraska couple’s connection with a Northwest alumna will benefit future Bearcats pursuing degrees in corporate recreation and wellness.
Bob and Jan FitzSimmons, of Lincoln, Nebraska, recently honored 2008 Northwest alumna Amy Munro-Kounovsky by establishing the Amy Munro-Kounovsky Scholarship. Beginning with 2017-2018, a $500 scholarship will be awarded to a Northwest junior or senior majoring in corporate recreation and wellness and enrolled in a recreation internship.
Munro-Kounovsky graduated from Northwest with degrees in corporate recreation and wellness and therapeutic recreation, and she became American College of Sport Medicine certified in 2008. After graduation, she accepted a position Prairie Life Fitness in Lincoln and works as a personal trainer.
The FitzSimmons value a healthy lifestyle, and Jan is a member at Prairie Life Fitness. Six years ago, she was looking for a new personal trainer. Amy and Jan began working together, and Jan is thankful of Amy’s knowledge and experience in the fitness world.
“Amy is very good to work with,” Jan said. “She developed a great approach for working with senior citizens with multiple medical issues.”
When Munro-Kounovsky got married in 2016, Jan wanted to do something to honor her for a wedding gift. The FitzSimmons endowed a scholarship in her name not only as a tribute to her but because of their belief in education.
“The scholarship that Bob and Jan put in my name is one of the most generous things anyone has ever done for me,” Munro-Kounovsky said. “I feel extremely lucky and thankful to be a part of something that will help students fulfill their dreams of helping others through health and wellness.”
Bob graduated from high school in 1958 and received a four-year scholarship to attend Kansas University, and Jan received a scholarship as a student at South Dakota State University. Because of the financial support they received in college, they understand the impact scholarships have on students’ lives.
“Sometimes the students who don’t qualify for the large scholarships believe it is because they did not earn a 4.0 grade-point average,” Jan said. “People have to understand there are a lot of different things that come into play like the amount of time a student works after school or extra-curricular activities. This does not mean they don’t value their education. It’s just that other things were pulling them in different directions.”
The FitzSimmons view endowed scholarships as an opportunity to leave a legacy to the communities that have paved the way for their careers and lives. With the number of people applying for college, they encourage students to be timely and diligent in researching scholarship opportunities.
“I think there is a lot of deserving young students who haven’t been able to attend the college they wanted to because of the cost,” Bob said. “Scholarships are out there. I encourage them to do a lot of research and apply for as many as they can.”
As a student, Munro-Kounovsky took advantage of networks and connections with Northwest faculty. She worked at a ropes course in New Hampshire for a summer, worked at the former Northwest fitness center and interned at Prairie Life Fitness, where she is currently employed.
“I am very grateful for the connections and all of the hands-on experiences that aided me in choosing the right career path,” Munro-Kounovsky said.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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