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With the assistance of a $3,000 John (NMN) Coffey/ThanksUSA Scholarship, Jordan Bowden is completing his junior year of International Relations studies at Brigham Young University.

The Army National Guard dependent chose International Relations because he truly enjoys studying the cultures of different people and learning how and why they live the way they do. With interests in politics and world affairs, Jordan thinks that his undergraduate studies may lead to a career with the U.S. State Department or with the military, perhaps as an Army Attaché.

Jordan also speaks passionately about a mission to Mexico explaining, “The time I spent in Mexico has greatly influenced my life; there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about that experience. An LDS mission is a two year commitment where you spend all of your time and energy preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The religious part aside, it was a life changing experience. I was able to spend two years of my life among a people who I did not know and really did not understand, (nor did they understand me for that matter) but I grew to love and respect their traditions and culture. The mission taught me about the great blessings and opportunities we have here in the U.S., it taught me to respect and love people of all nationalities and cultures, and it engrained in me a desire to reach out and help those less fortunate than myself.”

Though Jordan describes his mission as a life-changing event, his military upbringing played a significant role in building his confidence and inner strength which prepared him for college, his mission, and life as an adult. “My father’s military career has been a guiding influence in my life. It really has made me who I am today. Being the oldest I was greatly affected each time my dad was deployed. It caused me to take on a lot of responsibility and really learn well how to handle difficult situations. I believe it made me a stronger individual. I would say that overall the experience has been a positive one, but as with all things there are challenges.”

While Jordan is very committed to his family, faith, and studies, he still remains an easy-going undergrad. Recently, Jordan, along with his father and brother, was able to attend a Golden State Warriors vs. Utah Jazz basketball game courtesy of ThanksUSA National Spokesperson Stephen Curry. In his spare time, Jordan enjoys rock climbing and playing the piano and he helps finance his education by working part-time at the BYU Office of Information Technology.

The Bowden Men at Warriors vs Jazz (photographing yourself is not easy!!)

Since beginning his undergraduate studies, Jordan has received a total of $6,000 in ThanksUSA Scholarships and notes, “Without this scholarship, I seriously doubt that I would have been able to pursue a college degree without having to take out substantial student loans. Thank you to John (NMN) Coffey and everyone at ThanksUSA for allowing me the opportunity of an education, I hope that in the future I can repay the favor.”

Jordan is already a successful student and the ThanksUSA team wishes him continued success with all of his endeavors. We also wish to remind military dependents and spouses that applications for the 2012-2013 ThanksUSA Scholarship will be accepted through the ThanksUSA website from April 1st through May 15th. If you haven’t already, you can register for an email reminder here.

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Andrew Orme is a confident, patriotic Air Force Brat who is quickly adapting to college life at Brigham Young University. The recipient of a $3000 Oshkosh Defense/Senator Ted Stevens Memorial Scholarship through ThanksUSA, Andrew aspires to earn his Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Andrew Orme

Andrew is currently completing the rigorous pre-requisite courses necessary to pursue the mechanical engineering major. Having completed several Advanced Placement courses during his high school career, Andrew’s current undergraduate coursework is challenging.  But, he notes, “The work ethic I developed in high school has certainly been helpful.”

Much of Andrew’s interest in mechanical engineering stems from his military upbringing with the largest influence being his father’s career. Major Kenyon Orme, USAF, is a mechanical engineer who has served his country for over sixteen years. During that time, Andrew’s tours of military bases piqued his interests. He sees versatility in an engineering career and is encouraged by the diverse opportunities that his degree will offer.

Not only did military life give Andrew a glimpse of his potential career, it also provided him with life skills that he values today. He explains, “Military life prepared me to succeed in college. Moving often has taught me to adapt and deal with change in positive ways. I’ve also learned to interact well and develop good relationships with people.”

Andrew also reflected on the challenges of military life saying, “Deployments brought my family closer together. I learned the importance of family and I plan to carry that into my own marriage. My father has always emphasized a goal of excellence in all aspects of life.”

Andrew’s current goal is academic excellence and he plans to explore many specializations through the mechanical engineering program, Andrew is currently drawn to an aerospace technology concentration. He eagerly awaits the opportunity to delve into the aerospace curriculum and can see himself working in various aspects of the US Space Program, from satellite development and testing to rocket payloads.

Like most college Freshman, Andrew has been busy discovering all that BYU has to offer.  He recently participated in a disabilities awareness campaign, conducts community service through the Honors Program, and continues to make his faith a priority. Andrew is planning to share his faith through a two year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Andrew mentions that receiving the Oshkosh Defense/ThanksUSA Scholarship has given him greater confidence in his academic pursuits noting that he is able to focus more on his studies since he does not have to rely on a part-time job to meet expenses.

Andrew is certainly a confident and competent young man who has specific life goals and the necessary drive to achieve them. The ThanksUSA team is looking forward to following his continued success and we leave you with a few words from Andrew:

“I am so grateful for the financial assistance. Thank you for your support of the military and military families. It means a lot to my family to have organizations, individuals, and corporate sponsors supporting the military. It is very patriotic and we are all grateful.”

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Welcome 2011! I’m thrilled to announce that over 100 additional ThanksUSA Scholarships are being awarded to students for the 2011 Spring semester. Thanks to support from both private and corporate donors, over 250 students received financial aid through ThanksUSA for the 2010-2011 academic year.

Katelyn Keller

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I open the 2011 Scholarship News blog with the introduction of a Katelyn Keller, a freshman at Brigham Young University who received a $3000 Intelligent Decisions Inc/ThanksUSA Scholarship. Katelyn is an early childhood education major who plans to enhance the education of Hispanic and Latino children who are learning English as a second language.

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Katelyn is the daughter of Major Ronald Jay Keller, USAF (Ret). Katelyn is extremely proud of her father’s career stating, “My father served in the United States Air Force for 20 years as a fighter pilot which, I firmly believe, is the coolest job ever.” Though Maj. Keller deployed and moved his family several times during his career, Katelyn credits a specific tour as the inspiration for her field of study. While stationed at Holloman AFB in southern New Mexico, Katelyn witnessed the struggles of Hispanic families trying to navigate the American education system. She observed that although young Hispanic and Latino children adapt easily to understanding and learning English, many of their parents and care-givers do not.  Katelyn elaborates on her academic goals explaining, “I believe there is a need for teachers and leaders who can help bridge the gap between these two cultures. It is crucial to the success of children for parents to understand and be involved in their child’s education. This simply cannot be done without a common language between the parent and teacher. To target this issue, I intend to focus my teaching in a preschool or kindergarten classroom with both English-speaking and Spanish-speaking students.”

To enhance her own language skills, Katelyn is planning to study abroad in Madrid, Spain, during the 2012 Fall semester. Until then, she is embracing college life at BYU and participating in many service oriented programs. One of her favorite projects was assembling care packages for U.S. troops serving overseas. Katelyn notes, “I have done that many times for my own father, so it was a really personal experience for me.” Katelyn also volunteers at the LDS Missionary Training Center and plans to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints prior to her graduation from BYU.

The ThanksUSA team wishes Katelyn continued success with her studies and hopes that she attains her educational and spiritual goals while at BYU. I leave you this week with a message of gratitude from Katelyn: “I am so excited to have reached a point in my life where amazing opportunities are opening up to me everywhere I go. Receiving this scholarship has made my entire education possible. Ever since I was in middle school, my parents told me that I would be responsible to pay for my entire college education. So, I buckled down in school, became involved in student government and performing arts, and applied to many many scholarships. I could not possibly pay for college without the blessing of the Intelligent Decisions Inc/ThanksUSA Scholarships and am so grateful for the opportunity to receive an education in the field of my choice.”

You can support students like Katelyn by making a $10 donation today…simply text THANKSUSA to  85944 to make your $10 donation.

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