Matelich Scholarships Awarded to Two Exceptional Young Leaders

August 21, 2013

TACOMA, Wash. – Clara Brown, of Falmouth, Maine, and Jensen Handwork, of Centennial, Colo., have been named University of Puget Sound Matelich Scholars, honoring them with the college’s most prestigious award for students who combine extraordinary promise in academics and leadership.

The Matelich Scholarship is awarded to incoming freshmen who exhibit drive and integrity, the promise of outstanding academic and personal achievement, a commitment to service, and the capacity for a life of leadership.

The scholarship is funded by a generous gift from George E. Matelich ’78 and Susan E. Matelich to Puget Sound’s $125 million One [of a Kind] comprehensive campaign. Students seeking to attend Puget Sound as freshmen have the opportunity during the regular application process each year to apply to become Matelich Scholars. The scholarship, which was first awarded last year, covers all tuition and fees, including room, board, and other fees, for up to four years of undergraduate education at University of Puget Sound.

Clara Brown (Falmouth, Maine)

Clara Brown attended Falmouth High School where she was an AP Scholar with Honor. She served as vice president of her class, as head delegate for Model United Nations, and as the student representative on school hiring committees. The school principal says Brown proved, “smart, insightful, confident, and collaborative” in this role.

Last year Brown traveled with Habitat for Humanity to the Mississippi Gulf Coast to help rebuild homes destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. She worked with children and residents, and immersed herself in the community. At home she shows the same compassion, attending “wisdom teas”—discussions with seniors at a retirement home—and volunteering at a local Ronald McDonald House.

Brown was the varsity coxswain for two high school rowing teams and an adult rowing club, a role that her coach says requires “maturity, focus, humor, leadership, and a competitive drive.” Brown has pursued these many interests despite a serious spinal cord injury at age 12 that left her with some paralysis in all four limbs. Since then she has continued to excel at school and maintain a positive attitude. Brown hopes to study biology or neuroscience at Puget Sound.

Jensen Handwork (Centennial, Colo.)

Jensen Handwork attended Cherry Creek High School, where he is president of B.R.U.I.N.S. Squad, a club that aims to break down the barriers of hate and prejudice. He helped set up two groundbreaking forums involving the African American and Latino clubs, and was asked to speak at an equity training session for new teachers. Handwork says he is “in my comfort zone as soon as I choose to step out of it.”

In 2012 Handwork joined the Anti-Defamation League’s Robert B. Sturm Youth Leadership Mission to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. Following this 12 delegates distributed 30,000 posters encouraging Colorado and Wyoming schools to create a safe and inclusive community. Handwork, an Eagle Scout and participant in the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Seminar, led his student government’s effort to raise $25,000 for cancer patients during “Wish Week.”

He received the American Youth Foundation’s National Leadership Award, and the gold-level President’s Volunteer Service Award after devoting 325 hours to community service last year. The principal says Handwork “is a leader who does not seek attention, but instead does all that he does because he is passionate about the work.” Handwork aims to study international political economy and will join the Business Leadership Program.

About the Matelich Scholar Program

The Matelich Scholar Program was established in 2010 through the generosity of George E. Matelich ’78 and Susan E. Matelich, who wish to provide future generations of students with the opportunity to pursue a life-changing Puget Sound education. Each was the first member of their family to graduate from a four-year college. George Matelich is a managing director of Kelso & Company, a director of the American Prairie Reserve, a member of Stanford Graduate School of Business Advisory Council, and was treasurer of the University of Puget Sound Board of Trustees, where he served from 1989 for 23 years. Two Matelich Scholars are selected each year from the incoming freshman class.

For information about eligibility for the Matelich Scholar program, contact the Office of Admission at 253.879.3211 or visit

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