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H.M. Falkson Scholarship Launches Student's Dream Career

Melissa Gallagher

Melissa Gallagher, B.S.'08, is driven and determined. Since high school, she has been planning and strategizing the steps necessary to accomplish her career goals, and the H.M. Falkson scholarship, named by a Rensselaer alumnus in honor of his mother, has played an important role in the process.

She completed her education in three and one-half years, graduating in December with dual degrees in computer science and psychology. She plans to attend graduate school to obtain a master's degree and then go on to earn a Ph.D. in psychology with a focus in human computer interactions. Melissa's ultimate goal: To do post-doctoral research and become a professor at a research institution. "I think being able to teach and do research is quite possibly the coolest job in the universe," she says.

Melissa grew up in Boston and attended Boston Latin School, the country's oldest high school. She says the school was instrumental in leading her to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, which fit her college and career goals the best because of its reputation as a world-class research institution. "I fell in love with the campus and atmosphere during my visit. It was a great fit," she explains.

Melissa says she is grateful for the need- and merit-based scholarships she received. Without them, she would not have been able to afford to attend Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

"I worked very hard throughout high school and college to have all these opportunities," Melissa says. "Endowed scholarships, like the H. M. Falkson scholarship, make it possible for people like me who don't come from much money to have the potential to do great things."

Melissa is among the approximately 90 percent of students who require financial assistance to attend Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. If you would like to help support students like Melissa, now or in the future, please contact #Contact, director of gift planning, at #Phone to explore options that make sense for your situation.


eBrochure Request Form

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

"I give to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 110 8th St., Troy, NY 12180-3590, or its successor thereto, ______________* [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to Rensselaer or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the potential tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Rensselaer as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Rensselaer as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and Rensselaer where you agree to make a gift to Rensselaer and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

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