Posts Tagged ‘Air Force’


Thanks to generous sponsors Lockheed Martin, ESA Foundation, and The Jenzabar Foundation, Air Force dependent Ashtin Jeney received $12,000 in ThanksUSA Scholarships to pursue her Biology/Pre-Med studies at Carroll College. Now that she has completed her undergraduate studies, Ashtin is busy applying to medical schools throughout the United States. In a few weeks, Ashtin will travel to Graz, Austria, for a two-month hospital internship. When she returns to the states, she hopes to intern with either the Senate Finance Committee or the Senate Health Committee.


Ashtin may look familiar to regular Scholarship News readers…she has graciously volunteered for several ThanksUSA outreach opportunities over the past four years, meeting and speaking with sponsors, sharing her academic goals with supporters, and even appearing in a ThanksUSA video – thanks Ashtin!!

ThanksUSA is proud to support academic achievers like Ashtin and we are always happy to share their stories with you. Be sure to check back next week for another 2012 graduate feature.


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This week, I am honored to present Air Force dependent and ThanksUSA scholar, Kara Davis. During her undergraduate studies, Kara received a total of $9,000 in ThanksUSA Scholarships, including those sponsored by ESA Foundation and The Venetian and Palazzo Las Vegas. On May 5th, Kara graduated Cum Laude from Eastern Illinois University with her Bachelor of Science degree in Speech-Language Pathology. Dedicated to continuing her education, Kara is eager to begin graduate studies at EIU in just a few weeks. I encourage you to join ThanksUSA in congratulating Kara on her academic achievements and in wishing her continued success as a graduate student!

Congratulations Kara!!

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This week’s featured scholar, Eric Witt, has persevered despite the loss of his father. With the assistance of a $3,000 Folds of Honor Foundation/ThanksUSA Scholarship, Eric has completed his freshman year of studies at Otterbein College and has set his sights on becoming a Marine Biologist.

Eric’s father, Lieutenant Colonel Daniel J. Witt, U.S. Air Force, honorably served his country as a pilot for twenty years. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, he received numerous awards and though his service record is extensive, his children remember him as a loving father, and an avid distance runner and fisherman who enjoyed grilling and cooking.

One trait that Eric inherited from his father is athleticism. Although he has just begun his college journey, Eric is playing for the Otterbein Tennis Team. Eric loves the sport, but is quick to point out, “I’m a student-athlete; student first and athlete second.” Eric says that his coach is a great mentor and emphasizes the importance of academics by encouraging his team to keep up their grades in order to be eligible to play. Eric adds, “Balancing schoolwork with teamwork is what being a student-athlete is about. Being able to be involved in a few things on campus is rewarding, and it is a good way to make friends.”

As he prepares for his sophomore year, Eric is more committed to his major field of study, biology. He plans to first earn his B.S. Biology and then pursue graduate studies with a concentration in Marine Biology. Eric says that a fascination with marine life, a desire to explore the unknown, and endless curiosity are driving his academic ambitions. He adds that he feels a need, “to contribute something useful to society in the way of science or medicine in my discoveries.”

Although Eric has been busy wrapping up his freshman year of studies and prepping for the Fall semester, he has taken the time to apply for the 2012-2013 ThanksUSA Scholarship. We remind all college-bound military dependent children and spouses to apply before the May 15th deadline. Complete details can be found on the 2012 ThanksUSA Scholarship Program page of our website.

The Witt Family (L to R) Eva, Eric, Lisa, Peter

The ThanksUSA team is confident that Eric’s determination, combined with the loving support of his family, will lead to his academic success. We look forward to following up with him throughout his undergraduate studies and leave you with a message from Eric:

“I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you for my selection as a recipient of the Folds of Honor Foundation/ThanksUSA Scholarship. I am truly honored by your efforts to support families of military members by enabling dependents to pursue higher education.” – Eric Witt

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What a busy time of year for current and prospective students! Many are in the midst of exams, some are prepping for summer jobs or internships, and others are eagerly anticipating graduation day. This week, I’m delighted to introduce Jenna Barker, a history major who will graduate Summa Cum Laude from the College of Charleston in just a few weeks. Including a $3,000 Folds of Honor Foundation/ThanksUSA Scholarship for the 2011-2012 academic year, Jenna has received $6,000 in ThanksUSA scholarships for her undergraduate studies.


Always passionate about learning, Jenna was inspired to pursue her major after taking a Modern African History course. She explains, “I loved learning about an area that is largely neglected in High School History courses and developed a passion for the diverse cultures, languages, and historical experiences of the people of that continent.” Although she hasn’t selected a graduate school yet, Jenna is determined to pursue a Master’s degree in African Studies.

When she first enrolled in college, Jenna faced a dilemma all too common to military dependents…residency. When her father retired from the Air Force, Jenna was unable to be granted in-state tuition.

Residency guidelines differ from state to state and many military dependents have found themselves battling for in-state status. Jenna notes, “Thankfully, legislation is now being passed to keep military and retiree dependents from falling through the cracks.”

Despite the financial worries associated with her education, Jenna embraced college life, excelled academically, and will soon be a college graduate. ThanksUSA is proud to have been a part of Jenna’s educational journey and we encourage all military dependents and spouses to apply for this year’s ThanksUSA Scholarship. Applications are being accepted through May 15, 2012, and complete details and instructions can be found here.

We close this week’s Scholarship News with Jenna’s message of gratitude to the Folds of Honor Foundation and ThanksUSA supporters:

“The ThanksUSA Scholarships have been such an enormous blessing for me! I have so much respect for this program—thank you for everything you do to help military families with this huge expense. This is an excellent and much-needed program and a great way to show military families that they are understood and supported.”

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With the assistance of a $3,000 Blavatnik Family Foundation/ThanksUSA Scholarship, Faith  Hauversburk is pursuing double majors in economics and philosophy at John Hopkins University. With her husband deployed to South Korea, the newlywed Air Force spouse has remained committed to her studies at JHU knowing that her education will lead to a better future for her family.

Faith has always held mathematical interests and knew that she would enjoy working in the field of finance. She explains that she originally planned to major in applied mathematics because, “I felt it was a more flexible and powerful major, one which would better enable me to get a job.”

But Faith soon realized that she was learning most formulations and theories on her own. To optimize her college experience, she changed her major to economics and is quite satisfied with the results. “I felt economics would be more interesting, especially since I would better be able to understand the current economic situation, while also incorporating financial mathematics,” she adds.

Although Faith is dedicated to pursuing her economics degree to prepare for a future career, she also possesses a strong spiritual desire to study philosophy. She explains, “I think that the most important thing in life is to learn how best to live, and one gains this through self-understanding and through understanding of the world. Philosophy, or love of wisdom, is about understanding yourself and the world in a deeper, insightful way.”

To compliment her studies, Faith attends meetings of the campus philosophy group, Prometheus, and is involved in a Christian apologetics group. Faith explains, “We seek to defend the Christian faith with rationality.” She also volunteers to prepare and serve meals for area residents in need.

Faith is committed to graduating from JHU with honors and two undergraduate degrees. She is maintaining an impressive GPA and is gradually extending her campus involvement. Finances are always a concern for the Hauversburks and Faith explains, “Receiving the Blavatnik Family Foundation/ThanksUSA Scholarship has allowed me to feel more relaxed, to feel less stressful. School is stressful enough on its own! With my scholarship, I can shift my worries from finances and focus my attention on schoolwork instead.”

The sacrifices of military families are often difficult for civilians to understand or to relate to. Since Faith and her husband, Senior Airman Daniel Hauversburk, Jr, U.S. Air Force, are thousands of miles away from each other, I asked Faith to share a little about that experience.

Daniel and Faith Hauversburk, Jeju Island


“My husband and I, despite having only been married for a year, are very used to being apart, even prior to our marriage. The longest we have been together day by day is about a month. Because of this, I think it is easier on us to deal with the distance, especially because we are both independent people who have dreams and goals of our own.

We support each other by encouraging each other, by respecting and being understanding of each other when we cannot give each other much time, and by knowing that our time apart will mean a better life for us in the future. Above all, we remain best friends, and treat each other well.”



Thank you, Faith, for sharing with our Scholarship News readers. The ThanksUSA team is proud to be a part of Faith’s educational journey. We encourage all college-bound military spouses and dependent children to apply for the 2012 ThanksUSA Scholarships. Applications will be accepted from April 1, 2012, through May 15, 2012. You can sign up for an email reminder here and if you have any questions, please leave a comment or contact me directly at sherrykoch@thanksusa.org.

We close this week’s blog with a few words from Faith thanking the Blavatnik Family Foundation for their support of ThanksUSA:

“As a selected recipient, I am extremely grateful for the support towards my education. I, and many others, appreciate what you do for military dependents worldwide. Thank you for all that you do. You are giving me the chance to live out the American dream.”

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Sometimes, life just seems to get in the way…especially when you’re “married to the military” and raising three children. This week’s featured scholar, Christine Carenza, began her collegiate journey 20 years ago. Now, with the help of a $3,000 Intelligent Decisions Inc/ThanksUSA Scholarship, Christine is looking forward to completing her B.S. in Elementary Education by year’s end.

Christine with husband, CMSgt Joe Carenza


Christine’s husband, Chief Master Sergeant Joe Carenza, USAF, has been serving our country for the past twenty-eight years. During that time, the family has moved ten times and Christine has attended six colleges. With each of these institutions requiring different undergraduate course work, Christine found herself losing valuable credits every time she moved. Then, at the recommendation of a coworker, Christine looked into an online degree program at Grand Canyon University.

Christine was relieved to find a school that would move with her no matter where the family was stationed. “It’s so much more convenient, especially for military spouses, because you can complete your degree from start to finish even if you get transferred overseas,” she added.


This Fall, Christine will complete her student teaching requirements in her local school district and be qualified to teach grades k-8. Preferably, she would like to work with a fourth or fifth grade level explaining, “They are really eager learners at that point and I feel that I can really reach them and help them learn.”

Christine hasn’t always been interested in pursuing a teaching degree. Her post-secondary education began when an employer offered her tuition reimbursement. She was working as a secretary at the time and was able to earn her AA in Business Administration. She had also taken pre-requisites for a nursing degree, but a move overseas prevented her from continuing her nursing studies. Always eager to be involved with her children, Christine began working at her children’s school which inspired her to earn her B.S. in Elementary Education. She explains, “I always idolized teachers and when I started volunteering with students, I realized, ‘I can do this!’ and I began setting my goals.”

As a future teacher, Christine has already gained experience as a teacher’s aide for preschool and kindergarten students and has observed at a local parochial school. As the mother of three sons aged 11, 14, and 19, Christine has been volunteering in multiple classrooms since the mid 90’s. In addition to her studies, she remains actively involved with her Church, military spouse groups, and  volunteers with Boy Scouts.

The Carenza’s oldest son, Matthew, began college in 2011 and Christine was initially concerned about the financial burden of paying tuition for two family members. “It’s so nice not to have to worry so much. Receiving the Intelligent Decisions Inc/ThanksUSA Scholarship made it possible for me to continue my education.”

Joe, Christopher, Christine, Tony, & Matthew Carenza

Although the financial assistance was certainly a contributing factor to Christine’s continuing education, the real driving force behind her success has always been her family. “Without their support I would never have been able to get this far in my education,” she says.

The entire ThanksUSA team is grateful to our donors and sponsors for helping ThanksUSA support deserving students like Christine. We remind all potential applicants that 2012-2013 ThanksUSA Scholarship applications will be accepted online from April 1 through May 15 and you are encouraged to register for an email reminder here.

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Growing up in a large military family has taught Danielle Day resilience and the importance of working together as a family unit. With the assistance of a $3,000 ESA Foundation/ThanksUSA Scholarship, the Air Force dependent is completing her junior year of Psychology and Family Studies at Barclay College with plans to become a family counselor.

Faced with frequent military relocations, Danielle explains that her family “achieved some kind of rhythm that allowed us to cope with every move and settle in quickly to each new house and transform it into a home. My family was my only real, solid foundation in the midst of the chaos created by moving. Realizing the potential that is embedded in a family is what ultimately led me to begin pursuing a career in family counseling. I want to facilitate and empower strong family relationships by first understanding the science behind the way the mind works, then putting it into practice.”

Always an academic achiever, Danielle’s collegiate studies started at the age of 14 when she began taking courses at the local community college. She graduated from high school at the age of 16 and enrolled in community college full-time. Last Fall, Danielle transferred to Barclay College and plans to complete her undergraduate studies in the Spring of 2013. She then plans to earn a graduate degree in Professional Counseling.

When asked if she was pushing herself too hard, Danielle explained that her coursework has gradually increased over the years and her understanding of psychology helps her to cope with the stresses of a heavy academic load. She says, “By consistently testing and increasing my limits, I am attempting to train myself to grow and mature at an ever-increasing rate. One of the goals I made early in my college career was to never stop learning. Choosing to incessantly aim higher and work harder is my attempt to give my brain the chance to reach its full potential. The more I study psychology, the more I appreciate the capacity of the human brain…I never want to stop learning!”

Danielle’s desire to help others is a perfect fit with the Barclay College mission to prepare students for a life of service and leadership. She is proud to be a member of the small student body and has witnessed the positive impact of the college on the surrounding community. Danielle reports that during the 2011 Community Service Day, Barclay students painted and cleared debris from dozens of locations in a single day.

Besides her studies and volunteer work, Danielle holds a campus job to help finance tuition and extracurricular activities. This semester, she is excited to be able to add a piano class to her curriculum and adds, “The ESA Foundation/ThanksUSA Scholarship has been such a blessing! Having the financial freedom to take classes that will aid in my pursuit of becoming a well-rounded person is exciting and fulfilling.”

Certainly, Daniell’s family has provided the loving and secure foundation for her future success as a professional family counselor. The ThanksUSA team is confident that Danielle will continue to demonstrate academic excellence while serving her school and local community. On April 1, 2012, ThanksUSA will begin accepting scholarship applications for the 2012-2013 academic year. All military dependents and spouses who plan to apply are encouraged to register for an email reminder here. Military supporters, your tax-deductible donation to provide scholarships to deserving students like Danielle is always appreciated!

The Day Family: Eriksen, Danielle, Francesca, Christianna, (Dad) Allan, (Mom) Barbara, Hudson (front left), Gabriel (front middle)

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