Milwaukee Brewers scholarships a huge hit for MATC students

Eligible students get financial assist from baseball team, League of United Latin American Citizens and MATC Foundation

Mark Feldmann,

August 30, 2022

Brewers LULAC Scholarships

MILWAUKEE – When she started classes at Milwaukee Area Technical College, Maria Chavez Lopez was concerned about improving her English, finishing her homework and doing well on her tests.

What she didn’t fret about was paying for school.

In 2014, Chavez Lopez was among the first group of MATC Hispanic/Latino/a students to receive scholarships through a program sponsored by the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Council 333, the Milwaukee Brewers Latino Players and the MATC Foundation.

She put the money to good use, earning a Bilingual Office Assistant technical diploma. She is now pursuing an Administrative Professional associate degree at the college.

“Not worrying about having to pay really helps a lot,” Chavez Lopez said. “I’m working on my English and my homework can be hard. But with this help, I can concentrate on my studies.”

Since 2014, LULAC Council 333, the Brewers and the MATC Foundation have combined to award 137 scholarships totaling $88,320 to MATC students. 

The council awarded another batch of scholarships August 28 at Mexican Fiesta at the Summerfest grounds. Council representatives presented the scholarships along with several Milwaukee Brewers Latino Players, inckuding Willy Adames and Freddy Peralta.

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LULAC, the largest and oldest Hispanic civil rights organization in the United States, advances the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, housing, health and civil rights of Hispanic/Latino/a Americans.

The MATC Foundation has contributed $3,500 for the past two years to LULAC Council 333 to support the scholarship program, said Arturo Martinez, Ph.D., a former MATC associate dean and a member of the scholarship committee. The committee also includes Berta Barillas, an academic support specialist at MATC; Giovanna Doll, a coordinator at MATC’s Education Center at Walker’s Square; Fela Salinas; Annette Velez, an administrative assistant at MATC; and Robert Velez. 

“LULAC Council 333 is committed to help MATC to become a Hispanic-Serving Institution and that is why we made more scholarships available for Hispanic students to attend MATC,” Dr. Martinez said.

After moving to Milwaukee from Mexico eight years ago, Chavez Lopez first enrolled in the English as Second Language program at the MATC Education Center at Walker’s Square. 

With the help of Doll, Chavez Lopez heard about the Brewers-LULAC scholarship. “Giovanna has helped me with everything,” Chavez Lopez said. “She has helped with classes, schedules, anything I have needed.”

In 2019, Chavez Lopez earned her General Educational Development (GED) certificate from MATC. In October 2021, she began working at the Education Center at Walker’s Square as an office assistant. Chavez Lopez completed keyboarding this past summer, the final course she needed to attain the Bilingual Office Assistant technical diploma.

This Fall semester, she is taking English, math, more keyboarding, and document production courses. She also participated in Latinx Unidos, an MATC student organization. Chavez Lopez plans to complete her associate degree in 2023.

She said she wants to work full time at an educational facility helping students.

“I feel very good being here,” she said. “People here really want to help. I believe I am in the correct place for me.”

Felipe Beltran received a Brewers scholarship last year and another one this year. The award will help him pay for his final semester of classes at MATC before he transfers to Concordia University Wisconsin in Mequon to study business.

“I came to MATC almost two years ago because I discovered I really wasn’t ready to work,” Beltran said. “In the last year and a half, I have gotten more education and more experience. MATC has really prepared me for bigger and better things.”

Wisconsin’s largest technical college and one of the most diverse two-year institutions in the Midwest, Milwaukee Area Technical College is a key driver of southeastern Wisconsin’s economy and has provided innovative education in the region since 1912. More than 25,000 students per year attend the college’s four campuses and community-based sites or learn online. MATC offers affordable and accessible education and training opportunities that empower and transform lives in the community. The college offers more than 170 academic programs; and transfer options leading to bachelor’s degrees with more than 40 four-year colleges and universities. Overwhelmingly, MATC graduates build careers and businesses in southeastern Wisconsin. The college is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.