Skip to content

Providing More Than Scholarships

J.K. Rose | November 17, 2023

Impact | Hormel Inspired Pathways

Financial aid counseling and other assistance from Hormel Inspired Pathways helped Addison Hoermann make the jump to her chosen four-year college.

The Joy of Acceptance and Help with Financial Aid

Back in Colorado, Addie applied to Smith and waited. At long last, she received the joyful news that she was one of the 19% of applicants accepted by the prestigious institution. But there was one problem: the price tag. At $61,568 a year, the tuition for Smith College was twice that of UMass.

“We got financial aid but not enough,” says her mom, Theresa Hoermann. “We couldn’t afford the rest of the cost, and didn’t want to take out any more loans. It would have been a hardship.”

The Inspired Pathways program is best known for providing two-year community college scholarships to children of Hormel Foods employees, but it also offers a wide range of college counseling, including financial aid navigation, to help pave the path to a four-year college. Knowing this, Theresa reached out to Nate Lockett, director of the Hormel Inspired Pathways Scholarship program, who reviewed her materials and advised an additional course of action, including setting up and joining Addie for a meeting with Smith’s dean of financial aid to request additional aid. Nate helped her prepare the appeal forms they discussed with Smith’s representatives.

“Nate took the worry out of my hands,” Theresa says. “He stepped in where his expertise was, and I knew I was in good hands.”

As a result of the additional efforts, Addie was awarded a significantly larger sum of scholarships from the college totaling more than $80,000 over four years, and Theresa was able to qualify for a Federal Parent PLUS loan to cover the remaining balance.

A Small College Is a Good Fit

This fall, Addie officially became a Smithie and moved into Duckett House, a four-story, yellow clapboard house built in 1810 where just 37 students live. It takes her five minutes to walk to class or to Northampton’s charming downtown. She’s bonded with her roommate, an Oregonian whom she describes as “very outdoorsy,” and with whom she’s gone on several hikes.

The Cutter-Ziskind dormitory on the Smith College Campus

The Cutter-Ziskind dormitory on the Smith College Campus

“It’s an amazing environment and I’m loving it so far,” says Addie. “And because it’s a smaller school, I can actually have a personal relationship with my professors.” When she enrolled in a German class several weeks into the semester, for instance, the professor met with Addie for an hour after class three times a week until she got up to speed.

Although Addie hasn’t yet declared a major, part of the reason she found Smith appealing was its strong emphasis on STEM programs: Nearly 50% of graduates earn a degree in science, technology, engineering or math.

“I’m exploring math-based majors right now and just taking different classes,” she says.

After her last class before the weekend, a Friday afternoon lab, Addie returns to Duckett House for her favorite Smith tradition: the Friday Tea. For more than 100 years, Smithies have gathered over mugs of hot tea to socialize and reflect on their lives.

“It’s really just like a time to connect with people in your house and decompress from the week,” she says. “I love the little traditions that Smith has. It’s everything I’d hoped for.”