The University of Maine at Presque Isle’s campus radio station WUPI 92.1 The Owl and the Foundation of the University of Maine at Presque Isle have established a memorial scholarship to honor student Ciera Alexys Radel, who passed away unexpectedly on December 29, 2016.
The first Ciera Alexys Radel Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Tiffany Smith, a freshman majoring in Professional Communication and Journalism and staff writer for UMPI’s student newspaper the University Times, for the 2017-2018 academic year. The scholarship will be awarded annually to a freshman or sophomore student in good academic standing who has shown exceptional involvement with campus clubs and offices involving communications such as WUPI, University Times, or the Office of Community and Media Relations.
Ciera Alexys Radel graduated from Bangor High School and began her freshman year at UMPI as an Elementary Education major. She later changed her major to Psychology after discovering her passion for helping children. As a DJ for WUPI, she co-hosted the radio show Night Owl Mixes every Friday night and was known as DJ CiCi. Students, faculty, and staff remember Radel as someone who brought joy to those around her and saw the best in everyone.
Ciera’s mother Valarie Patterson explained that from the age of 13 months until the time of her passing, Ciera struggled with seizures, but it never halted her efforts to live life to its fullest. Her passion in life, Patterson said, was to not only fulfill her own life goals but to make an impact on others’ lives.
“There was not a day that went by that Ciera did not stretch out her hand in kindness with words of encouragement and support to uplift others who were struggling,” she said. “Her smile and laugh were infectious. She knew life was fragile and she made it her purpose to make others happy. The legacy she leaves behind is to remember that ‘Tomorrow is not promised, so make it count today.’”
On behalf of her family, Patterson expressed their gratitude for the establishment of this scholarship.
“Ciera was truly an amazing young lady who was put on this earth for a purpose: to teach others to persevere even in the face of obstacles, to be kind and supportive to others,” Patterson said. “You never know how just taking a few minutes of time to encourage someone can change their outlook on life. We are so proud of the young woman Ciera was and it is our hope that her legacy continues through this scholarship that has been set up in her honor. God bless the entire UMPI family and her friends for bestowing this honor to our precious Ciera.”
Katharine Waldron, the station manager for WUPI, has worked on the establishment of this scholarship since its beginnings.
“Ciera was not only an exceptional DJ but an overall kind, genuine person who dedicated nearly all of her free time to WUPI 92.1 FM,” Waldron said. “Her initiative to take a leadership role and to get involved at 92.1 as a freshman was unlike any other that we had seen in the station’s history. Following the passing of Ciera, we at 92.1 wanted to make sure that her memory, caring, and dedication for the station were not forgotten. We established this scholarship in her memory in the hopes that future new freshman and sophomore students at UMPI who showed similar dedication and interest in the media/communications field could be assisted financially to continue their passions in the field that Ciera was so passionate about. We hope that this scholarship will be one that continues to benefit students here at the University for many years to come.”
Students can apply for the scholarship through the Financial Aid Office scholarship application packet. Preference will be given to Professional Communication and Journalism majors and minors. Recipients will receive $500 to go toward the costs of tuition and fees, textbooks, housing and/or other student expenses for the fall semester.
“A scholarship like this is all about community and really shows the generosity of our students to memorialize their friend for the great work, community service, and volunteerism she embodied,” Debbie Roark, Executive Director of University Advancement, said. “This was a student-led initiative through WUPI and the Student Government Association and we’re very pleased to see these students work to fulfill their fundraising goal of fully endowing this scholarship and honor this very special student.”
For more information or to contribute to the Ciera Alexys Radel Memorial Scholarship fund, please contact Dr. Roark at (207) 768-9755 or firstname.lastname@example.org.