When Jena Kleindl was weighing where to attend college, she was looking for a place where she would feel at home. That’s what she found at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

“I knew almost immediately during my campus visit that I was going to attend UWM. It just felt right,” she said in December 2020.

Kleindl, the fifth recipient of the Don Walker Memorial Scholarship, is on track to graduate in spring 2021 with a degree in journalism and media studies. The second scholarship check of $1,500 just arrived in the account that UWM uses to pay her tuition, she said.

Kleindl was born and raised in Freeport, IL, and graduated from Freeport High School.

“My first journalism class was in high school, but I did not enjoy it,” she said. “I actually left the class only a semester in.”

Once she reached college, she caught the news bug in a class “where I felt like I was able to really participate, find stories and do journalism.”

Outside of classes, she is in search of a hobby and is fostering two cats “that keep me busier than expected.”

Kleindl is the first to receive the boosted $3,000 Walker scholarship, which goes to a journalism student at either UWM or Marquette University. In just five years, the fund that finances the scholarship has risen from $25,000 to $97,000.