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Your Money at Work
Meet just a few of our talented, hard-working recipients of Foundation scholarships.
JiaWen Luo grew up in a rural Chinese farming village, from which not one person had ever attended college. She dreamed of being the first. After high school graduation in 2005, JiaWen found work in a city 15 hours away from her village. JiaWen knew this was not the life she dreamed about as a child. " I thought my work was meaningless. I felt like a zombie," she thought. She studied English in her spare time. After 2 years of self-taught English, in 2007, she began to do translation work for American companies doing business in China. Through this work, she met her husband and immigrated to the United States in 2013.
JiaWen did not give up her goal of attending college. She knew her high school transcript from China would not be accepted in the U.S. She studied diligently, passed the GED test, and enrolled in FRCC, where she maintains a 4.0 grade average.
JiaWen will graduate from FRCC in December 2016 with her AA Degree. JiaWen plans on transferring to a four-year university where she will study for her Bachelors Degree emphasizing business, accounting and security. She wants to work within a government agency that can use her analytical and multi-lingual skills.
JiaWen plans to give back, because she knows how lucky she was to meet the right people and to be able to receive an education at FRCC. “I was a poor farm girl with no future. I want to inspire others to follow their dreams. I want them to know there is always hope through hard work and dedication to a dream,” JiaWen explains.
She describes herself as blessed to have a husband and loving family to push and support her dream and is very appreciative to be a FRCC Foundation scholarship recipient. “I never really thought I could reach my goals. Now I know I can achieve even more.”
Makinzie Hamilton is the first in her family to attend college. She has never taken a college degree for granted. She understands that an education will provide her opportunities not available to her parents. She understands just how lucky she is.
“Like me, many freshmen have no idea where their studies will take them; but, as we take courses, we discover a love and zeal for a certain subject,” Makinzie explains. “This self-discovery through education is as important as the degree itself.”
She is currently studying biology at FRCC and hopes to go to medical school. Makinzie would love to become a pediatrician in a low-income area, where she could help families and teach children how to live a healthy lifestyle.
She believes that her educational experience in interpersonal communication will help her be a better doctor and a more effective philanthropist. Her FRCC Foundation scholarship has only intensified her determination to be more organized, better read, and a more objective thinker, which Makinzie believes will make her a more valuable member of the community.
“FRCC is the first step in achieving my goal of helping people and creating a path toward success. Education is one of the most important investments a person can make. I want to not only improve myself, but the world around me.”
Jennifer Sanford explains that her elementary school teachers would mostly likely have described her as the textbook example of an underachiever. She did not turn in homework. She was bullied by her peers. Taunted. Humiliated. “I spent most of my early school years tiptoeing around, praying not to be noticed and hiding my potential and talents.”
That is not who Jennifer is today. “I have never been more certain of my purpose in life—to help and to heal. My dream is to become a nurse practitioner and work with military veterans and their families.” Step one, according to Jennifer, is admission into FRCC's nursing program.
The path to her dreams has not been easy. Her first attempt at college was put on hold because of the death of both her mom and stepdad. Her grandmother invited her to come to Colorado and start over, giving her the opportunity to reconnect with her dad, who was not well. He died during her first semester at FRCC.
As a single mother, Jennifer underscores that her education is not just an investment in her future. It is an investment in her children's future. “The underachiever in me has wised up, grown up, and now stands tall and proud.” And proud to be a recipient of a FRCC Foundation scholarship.
Tragedy has led to clarity and purpose. “There is nothing I cannot do. No goal is out of reach.”
Shannon Helmlinger decided to return to school at the age of 45 to obtain a degree in business.
He is the father of a seven-year-old daughter. “After being in the workforce for years, I now better understand importance of a college education and want my daughter to learn that lesson earlier than I did.” He sees a college education as key to advancing his financial opportunities and improving his communication skills, which he believes will help him better share life experiences and offer leadership to others.
“I have learned that without a degree, financial and personal plateaus are reached in early adulthood. I have firsthand knowledge of the obstacles facing individuals without a degree,” Shannon emphasizes.
“FRCC's faculty is invested in the students' success. I am developing study habits and time management skills that are essential to that success. A community college is the optimal stepping stone to transferring to a four-year university—especially for a non-traditional student like me.” And, he is very appreciative of his FRCC Foundation scholarship since leaving the workforce.
His goal is to own his own company with a focus on corporate, social responsibility, which is a very important issue for him. He wants to create a company that will make a difference in the lives of its employees and the environment. “That is how I will pay it forward.”