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Congratulations to ThanksUSA scholars Karen and Brittany Butler! This mother/daughter duo each earned degrees from Valdosta State University and proudly walked the stage together. Karen says, “It was a great moment in my life to share something so special with my daughter!”

 

karen and brittany grad 2013

Karen, spouse of MSGT Kevin Butler, USAF RET, has received consecutive ThanksUSA scholarships totaling $6,000 for her undergraduate studies at Valdosta State University.  Karen received a KPMG LLC/ThanksUSA scholarship in 2011 and an EADS/Senator Ted Stevens Memorial scholarship through ThanksUSA in 2012.

She recently completed her Associates of Art in Business Administration and will continue her studies to earn her BA in Accounting with certification in both Healthcare Administration and Human Resources.

Kevin and Karen’s daughter, Brittany, also received $6,000 in ThanksUSA scholarships for her Biology major at Valdosta State.  She received a Blavatnik Family Foundation/ThanksUSA scholarship in 2010 and an EMC Corp/Senator Ted Stevens Memorial scholarship through ThanksUSA in 2011.

This May, Brittany graduated from the Valdosta State University Honors College. She received Summa Cum Laude honors and earned her BA in Biology with a minor in Chemistry.

ThanksUSA is proud to support our deserving military families and we hope you will join us in congratulating both Brittany and Karen on a job well done – Way to go ladies!!

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Allen_Eric 2012.

ThanksUSA is currently accepting scholarship applications for the 2013-2014 academic year. Over the past seven years, ThanksUSA has awarded over 2,800 scholarships (worth nearly $8.5 million) to deserving military spouses and dependent children. $3,000 American Airlines/ThanksUSA Scholarship recipient Eric Pierre Allen is an excellent representation of these scholars. The Army dependent’s unique combination of majors, combined with his giving spirit and drive to succeed, really make him stand out.

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Eric’s father, First Sergeant Norman Allen, U.S. Army, has been serving our great nation for over twenty five years. Knowing life only as a military child, Eric travelled often and was exposed to a variety of cultures.

As a teen, Eric found himself enthralled with the vibrant graphics of Japanese animation. Though he enjoyed the visual styles of anime, he couldn’t fully understand the symbolism and cultural references. Soon, his quest to grasp the intricacies of anime led to a fascination with Japanese history and culture.

In high school, Eric had the opportunity to focus on his Japanese interests as a student of the Internal Baccalaureate Program. He explains, “I did my senior thesis paper on the Samurai Code of Bushido and how it affected the mentality of the Kamikaze pilots. This is when I gained a great passion for Japanese culture and language.”

When he entered the University of Texas at Austin to study accounting, Eric knew that he also wanted to continue his Japanese studies. During his freshman year, Eric attended a fair to learn about various campus student groups. Interested in joining an organization that would complement his business studies, Eric stopped by a particular group’s table only to find it unoccupied. The neighboring table happened to be hosted by the Asian Business Students Association. Eric struck up a conversation with ABSA’s Internal Vice President and accepted her enthusiastic invitation to join.

Now, nearly three years later, Eric is pursuing his Masters in Professional Accounting and B.A. in Japanese Language and Culture. He has become involved in many campus organizations including Student Government, Liberal Arts Council, Japanese Association, and Black Business Students Association. He is also a DJ and show host for the campus’s Chop Suey Radio and he has continued his involvement in the ABSA. In fact, Eric currently serves as the ABSA’s Internal Vice President – the same position of the officer who invited him to join during his freshman year.

Eric believes that all college students should seek out campus organizations and activities in order to make the most of their educational experience. He adds, “Through all of the organizations I have been involved with, I have gained valuable connections with people that will transcend college.”

As his junior year at UT Austin concludes, Eric is preparing for what may be his most memorable year yet. During the 2013-2014 academic year, Eric’s collegiate majors will culminate into an immersive learning experience with studies abroad in Osaka and Tokyo.

After completing his undergraduate degrees and earning his CPA, Eric plans to gain practical experience in the United States before pursuing an international career. Eventually, he hopes to earn his PhD in Japanese history and become a college professor.

Considering his academic achievements thus far, I’m sure Eric will accomplish every goal he sets for himself. As the 2012-2013 academic year concludes, I hope to bring you more highlights from our deserving scholars. Some may be wrapping up their first year of college, while others are graduating. If you find any of these ThanksUSA scholarship recipients as inspiring as I do, I encourage you to make your tax deductible donation today.

“All of my accomplishments so far have been because of generous people like you. Thank you again for your donation.” – Army dependent Eric Allen

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In March of 2011, Hills Bros. Coffee and ThanksUSA kicked off the Hills Bros. Homefront Heroes campaign. Coffee drinkers across the country purchased specially marked cans of Hills Bros. Coffee in support of ThanksUSA Scholarships. The campaign was huge success and over $150,000 in scholarships are being awarded to the children and spouses of our military heroes! This week, I’m honored to introduce one of the Hills Bros. Homefront Heroes/ThanksUSA Scholarship recipients, Dominic Wetzbarger.

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Dominic’s father, David, dedicated 28 years of service to our nation as a member of the Army National Guard and recently retired as a Command Sergeant Major for the Recruiting Retention Battalion for the Iowa Army National Guard. Dominic is proud of his father’s military career and very appreciative of ThanksUSA and Hills Bros. for supporting our military family members.

“The $3,000 Hills Bros. Homefront Heroes/ThanksUSA Scholarship will help me with my education by providing additional financial assistance. Scholarships help college students jump-start their career because they have less debt to worry about after college. When I start my own career, I will look to helping those college students in need of financial assistance, in other words giving back to the community,” says Dominic.

Currently in his junior year of Accounting and Business Management studies at Briar Cliff University, Dominic is looking forward to graduating with honors and earning enough credit hours to sit for the CPA exam. He then plans to earn his MBA and pursue a career as an accountant.

Dominic’s interest in accounting and business management grew from his experience at Hy-Vee, Inc. He started as a cashier and quickly moved to counting drawers. He was soon working as Cash Accountability, verifying that the cash amounts, checks, coupons, and charges balanced for the entire store. Dominic takes great pride in his responsibilities and reports that seeing a register balance out is quite satisfying.

This past summer Dominic interned with Hy-Vee, giving him even more insight to the accounting details of a business. He explains, “Every aspect of a business is essential to achieve success. My internship experience made me appreciate all that accountants do.”

Although dedicated to achieving academic success, Dominic always makes time for his athletic passion, soccer. He is a member of Briar Cliff University’s Men’s Soccer Team and helps coach the Bishop Heelen Boys Soccer team. Dominic is so dedicated to the sport that he plans to obtain his license to coach youth/young adult soccer. He says, “What’s important for soccer coaches at my age to do is to set an example and be a role model to the younger generation.”

Young soccer players will certainly benefit from having such a respectable coach. The ThanksUSA team is proud to support the educational pursuits of men and women like Dominic and we encourage you to share ThanksUSA’s mission with your friends and colleagues. To learn more about our scholarship recipients, subscribe to the Scholarship News blog and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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