Profiles of Impact: One person can change a life

Rebecca BriesmooreRebecca Briesmoore, a senior at Iowa State University, always believed she was going to become a teacher--that is, until everything changed.

As a freshman at Davenport Central, she attended a girls' science and technology workshop. Teresa Kirkeeng-Kincaid, a civil engineer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and an active member of the Davenport Rotary Club, gave a 20-minute presentation about her career.

It was obvious to Rebecca that Teresa was a remarkable civil servant who dedicated her entire career to making her community and the Upper Mississippi River Region a better place. Teresa took the time to share her passion and encourage others. That day, Rebecca decided to become a civil engineer and is now well on her way to reaching her goal.

Rebecca never got to tell Teresa what a difference she had made in her life. In 2007, not long after the presentation, Teresa passed away from cancer. But her influence has remained in Rebeccaís life.

In 2009, Rebecca applied for the Davenport Rotary Club Scholarship. "I told the interview panel about Teresa being the inspiration in my life," said Rebecca, who was awarded the $16,000 Rotary Scholarship. "Having been awarded this scholarship was a major factor that led me to my current internship at the Army Corps of Engineers this summer."

Recently, while cleaning out a filing cabinet in her office in the Clock Tower Building of the Army Corps of Engineers, Rebecca found some papers that were signed by Teresa Kirkeeng-Kincaid.

"Although I never spoke to her beyond that 20-minute presentation, at that moment when I found those papers, everything about my career choices made sense," Rebecca recalls. "Teresa's 20 minutes, and the generosity of all the Davenport Rotarians, changed my life."

The Davenport Rotary, established in 1922, has utilized the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend to administer their annual scholarship since 2001. More than 350 students have benefitted from the Davenport Rotary Club's Scholarship Program.

Click here to apply for the Davenport Rotary Club Scholarship.

"It would have been a lot harder to go to school without the scholarship. It meant a lot less pressure."

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The Community Foundation of the Great River Bend uses the voices of youth in our area to provide insight on issues in the community.
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