Cornelison chosen as Ducks Unlimited National Scholarship winner

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 25, 2023

SALISBURY — An East Rowan High School senior got a big boost to their college fund after receiving a $10,000 scholarship from Ducks Unlimited. 

Emma Cornelison was selected as the 2023 Susie Konkel Ducks Unlimited (DU) National Scholarship winner.

According to a press release from Ducks Unlimited, Cornelison was highly involved with DU’s East Rowan High School Varsity Chapter, serving as treasurer her freshman year before serving as committee chairman during her last three years of high school.

Her family has a tradition of volunteering for DU. Her father, Drew, serves as the Rowan County, North Carolina Chapter’s chairman and Western North Carolina’s district chairman.

DU President Chuck Smith broke the news to Cornelison.

 “I am very impressed by her resumé, and after speaking with Emma about her goals for the next chapter of her education, I am even more impressed,” Smith said. “I am thankful for young volunteers like Emma who are passionate about DU’s mission and willing to pave the way for future generations.”

In addition to the $10,000 national scholarship, DU awarded 60 scholarships to high school seniors nationwide, 10 $1,000 Conservation Scholarships, and 50 $500 Varsity Scholarships.

The DU National Scholarship program would not exist without the generosity of many donors nationwide, including the gift’s namesake, Susie Konkel, whose support of the DU National Scholarship ensured the program would help financially support deserving high school seniors.

“My grandfather shared his love of the outdoors with my brother, Jim,” Konkel said. “Because of Jim’s enthusiasm for Ducks Unlimited, I became involved and want to pass along the importance of conservation to many generations.”

Scholarship applications are reviewed by a volunteer selection committee appointed by Ken Carroll, DU advisory senior vice president to the National Youth and Education Committee.

“I am humbled to be a part of this process and I could not be prouder of Emma and the entire class of 2023 DU scholarship recipients,” Carroll said. “This marks the sixth year DU has awarded scholarships totaling $280,000 to high school seniors who are members or volunteers for the organization. Programs like this give me hope and energy for the future of waterfowling and conservation efforts across our diverse landscapes.”

The DU Varsity chapter program is for high school students across the United States. This program allows students to engage with DU in a fun manner that teaches them leadership, business and communication skills, all while contributing to DU’s conservation mission.