Posts Tagged ‘ESA Foundation’

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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Gabriella “Ellie” Cavuoti is a compassionate nursing student who believes in the personal philosophy: “to those who are given much, much is owed to others.” This week, the Truman State University freshman shares her academic goals and how the $3,000 ESA Foundation/ThanksUSA Scholarship is helping her achieve them.

Ellie’s father, Lt. Col. Frank Cavuoti, USAF (RET), has been serving our nation since 1985. Lt. Col. Cavuoti was an Air Force pilot during his active-duty service and now continues to work with the Air Force as a civilian. Ellie reflects on her military life saying, “It has given me the opportunity to see the world and cultures through different eyes and many locations.”

Though there were many duty stations, Ellie’s parents always made sure that the family helped to build and care for the local community. Ellie adopted the concepts of “pay it forward” and “take care of your own” and is now looking forward to serving the communities of Missouri as a registered nurse.

“Missouri is my home. I want to have an impact and make a difference where I live with the people I love,” explains Ellie. She says she chose Truman State University because, although relatively small, it provides rigorous academics which best reflect Ellie’s personality and her “desire to work more closely with people at the core level.”

Her desire to serve others is also reflected in charitable efforts through the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity. She has already volunteered with the local animal shelter, tutored elementary students, and participated in food, coat, and blood drives.

In addition to her work through ΑΦΩ, Ellie volunteers with many children’s-focused causes like Nathan’s Quest, Vacation Bible School, and Parish School of Religion. Children hold a special place in Ellie’s heart and she knows that she will eventually marry and start a family of her own. Upon completion of her undergraduate nursing studies, Ellie plans to complete a graduate program and specialize in pediatric nursing.

When she speaks about the impact that the ThanksUSA Scholarship has had on her freshman year of studies, Ellis says, “It has truly inspired me. I feel that I have the ability and skills to succeed. The ESA Foundation sponsorship of my ThanksUSA Scholarship and your vote of confidence bolsters my pride and allows me to focus on my studies. Ultimately, it is a win-win situation. Your investment in me and my investment in my studies will go a long way in making our society a better place.”

Truly a worthy investment! You can invest in deserving scholars like Ellie by making your tax-deductible donation to ThanksUSA today. All military dependents and spouses are reminded that applications for the 2012-2013 academic year will be available online from April 1 through May 15, 2012. Current ThanksUSA Scholarship recipients and prospective applicants are encouraged to register for an email reminder here.

As always, we welcome your words of encouragement for Ellie and leave you with a message of gratitude from Ellie:

“I would like to thank the ESA Foundation and ThanksUSA Scholarship committee for helping to provide me with this wonderful opportunity to attend the university of my dreams. It truly speaks volumes about these organizations in that they care about the education and future of young adults of America. I am grateful to be a part of this scholarship program and wish the best to other applicants in the years to come!”

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Stephanie Larumbe is a compassionate soul who is learning the necessary skills that will enable her to bring comfort and healing. A junior at New College of Florida, Stephanie is applying her $3,000 ESA Foundation/ThanksUSA Scholarship towards her biology and psychology studies with plans to continue on to medical school and eventually work in a hospital setting.

Combining the studies of biology and psychology allows Stephanie to explore the two sciences that interest her most. She describes her biology studies as a satisfying “hard facts” education whereas psychology challenges her intellectually. “Psychology is another world in itself. Especially the inner workings of the human mind and the vast differences in cognitive function and in conscience are incredibly fascinating to me,” explains Stephanie.

As Stephanie nears the end of her undergraduate studies, she is deciding which area of medicine she will focus on during her graduate and doctoral studies. Until recently, she was certain that she would specialize in pediatrics. Then she began an internship in the obstetrics and gynecological department of a children’s hospital in Germany. Stephanie says, “I am beginning to consider this to be another viable option. I think the birthing process is absolutely fascinating and I can definitely see myself working in this field.”

Stephanie’s academic record and personal empathy speak volumes about her commitment to helping others. While at New College of Florida, Stephanie volunteers with Habitat for Humanity and YREADS, a YMCA sponsored reading program for underprivileged children. Last summer, Stephanie traveled to Uganda for a Catholic mission to provide orphans with educational opportunities. While there, she worked directly with the residents and volunteered at the medical station. It is clear that no matter which specialty Stephanie chooses to pursue, she will surely make a wonderful physician.

It’s probably no surprise that much of Stephanie’s view of the world and desire to help others was instilled early on as an Army dependent. Stephanie explains, “Being a military brat, as we so fondly call ourselves, certainly has its ups and downs. As a military family, it is not uncommon to have to deal with everything from post-traumatic stress disorder in loved ones, to the loss of close family friends. But in my case, these challenges helped us grow closer as a family. If anything, living the life of a military brat has taught me adaptability and resiliency and has left me well prepared to face the world.”

ThanksUSA is proud to help Stephanie face her future. She reports that receiving the ESA Foundation/ThanksUSA Scholarship was especially significant this year because of unexpected financial hardships. Her grandmother was recently diagnosed with stage four cancer and the Larumbe family committed much of their finances to her care and treatment. Although Stephanie is employed as both a Resident Advisor and lifeguard, her income fell short of tuition. “This scholarship really came at an opportune moment and helped me not only be able to fund my tuition for the semester, but also relieved me in a way that I could spend less time working and more time focusing on my studies,” Stephanie explains.

The ThanksUSA team wishes Stephanie continued academic success and we hope to follow up on her education in the future. A reminder to all college-bound military dependents that ThanksUSA scholarship applications will be available online between April 1 and May 15, 2012. All potential applicants are encouraged to register for a reminder email and as always, every donation helps…Make your tax-deducible donation today!

We close this week’s Scholarship News with a word of thanks from Stephanie:

“I feel honored to have received this scholarship and would like to thank the ESA Foundation and ThanksUSA with all my heart for the help and opportunity they have given me! I am truly grateful for all they have done!”

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This week I am happy to introduce University of Maryland: College Park sophomore, Rachel Sebastian. Rachel has received consecutive ThanksUSA scholarships totaling $6000, including a $3000 ESA Foundation/ThanksUSA Scholarship for the 2011/2012 academic year.

Rachel Sebastian

A music education major with a concentration in musical performance, Rachel’s current long-term plans including teaching at the k-12 level. “Last year I had the opportunity to observe many music classes all around the DC area,” says Rachel. “I enjoyed each of the unique experiences that the different classes provided. The general music classes that I observed in the elementary schools piqued my interests the most. The classes are high energy and the students are constantly engaged. The teachers have freedom to teach from a variety of musical concepts in creative ways. I love the excitement and joy that young children bring to music, and I think that elementary general music would be the most fun job I could have,” Rachel adds.

Since Rachel speaks so passionately about teaching music to young children, I felt compelled to ask her about funding cuts to programs such as music education. She responded, “Music, as well as many other arts programs, is certainly a vital part to a quality education. Music engages the brain and the body in a way that no other subject can. I have read numerous studies that prove that music enriches child development not only by increasing cognitive abilities, but also by building social and critical-thinking skills. From my own experiences, I have observed that children truly blossom through the expressive and creative outlet that music provides, whether in a general music, band, orchestra, or choir class.”

Rachel’s concentration in music performance will provide her with the necessary training and applied lessons to be a professional French Horn performer. In addition to her studies, Rachel is also devoted to many causes on faith-based organizations on campus including Terps for Life, the Navigators, the Catholic student association, and the University of Maryland chapter of Catholic Daughters of America.

On Monday, November 14th, Rachel, and her family will join ThanksUSA at DAR Constitution Hall for the ThanksUSA Benefit Concert to celebrate our military families. Rachel’s father, Commander James Sebastian, has served with the United States Coast Guard for nearly 25 years. During his service, Rachel has lived in nine different homes and says the experience has taught her to be flexible. She has developed many long-distance friendships and feels that she adjusts easily to new or different situations. She also notes the closeness of her family saying, “My family is incredibly supportive and I don’t know what I would have done without them.”

Speaking of her family, Rachel’s older sister, Rebekah, received a $1500 ThanksUSA Scholarship in 2006 for her studies at Louisiana Tech. Rebekah completed her undergraduate studies in 2009 and is currently attending physical therapy school at the University of Delaware.

The ThanksUSA team is proud to have assisted both Sebastian sisters with their educational pursuits and we look forward to following the progress of Rachel’s undergraduate studies. We close this week’s Scholarship News blog with a few words from Rachel to the ESA Foundation and all ThanksUSA supporters:

“This scholarship money has been such a blessing to me! I am now attending a college that I could never have even imagined myself attending. Every once in a while I look around, astonished at my school, classes, professors, and extremely talented classmates and I am in awe that I have the privilege to attend a school that I am so in love with. I will be able to graduate from the University of Maryland debt-free with experience and knowledge that will help me to get a job as a music teacher.”

Be sure to check our Facebook page next week for photos and concert highlights!

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Jordan Roberts is passionate about sports and wants to help professional athletes. Currently in her sophomore year at the University of Florida, Jordan has received a $3000 ESA Foundation/ThanksUSA Scholarship to assist her with her athletic training studies. This week, Jordan explains how a devastating injury inspired her college major.

During her freshman year of high school, Jordan suffered an ACL tear that brought her soccer season to a sudden halt. She recalls, “In the beginning, I only remember feeling defeated and angry as I sat the bench and slowly pushed through recovery. I vividly remember squeezing my eyes shut and clenching my fists as the therapists pressured my leg to work and gain full mobility. Despite the pain and frustration, I knew I had to persevere and push through all the obstacles if I ever wanted to play soccer again. September 11, 2007, exactly one hundred and eighty-eight days after my surgery. It was the day that I stepped back on the soccer field, not only physically stronger but mentally stronger as well. In that period of time, I learned that determination and passion are qualities about me that I will carry throughout the rest of my life.”

Upon earning her BS in Athletic Training, Jordan hopes to work with a collegiate or professional soccer team. As a pre-athletic training student, Jordan is completing her observational studies with the University of Florida’s women’s soccer team. “I love all sports but working with soccer as my career would be absolutely perfect,” adds Jordan.

Like all ThanksUSA scholars, Jordan is a military dependent. Her father, SMSGT Kevin Roberts, USAF (RET), dedicated nearly 25 years to the United States Air Force. Jordan reflects on her military upbringing saying, “Although I was extremely lucky and got to stay in one location for pretty much all of my school years, there were tough moments. When my dad was deployed, my mom (Geri) and I had to do things alone, and I learned to appreciate everything that I have so much. My mom was strong during everything and knowing my dad was defending our country made me so proud to have such wonderful parents.”

The ThanksUSA team extends our appreciation to Jordan’s family and all of the military families who support our nation. We will be celebrating military families during a ThanksUSA Benefit Concert on November 14th at DAR Constitution Hall. Military personnel and family members who are interested in attending can request tickets through the USO Programs Ticketline. If you are interested in sponsorship opportunities for this event, please email sherrykoch@thanksusa.org.

We wrap up this week’s Scholarship News with a message of thanks from Jordan to the ESA Foundation and all individuals who support ThanksUSA:

“I am so grateful to have this opportunity and cannot thank you enough for helping me pursue my dream of becoming an athletic trainer. I just want to say again how much I appreciate this scholarship. It was such a blessing!”

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Victoria Whitmore

ThanksUSA Scholars are awesome! They excel academically, give back to their communities, and inspire others. This week’s featured scholar, Victoria Whitmore, represents all of these qualities and more. Tori received a $3000 ESA Foundation/ThanksUSA Scholarship for her Nursing studies at Hardin-Simmons University. Tori has always excelled academically, but when she sought guidance about college and career choices, she was given the standard, “anything you put your mind to” advice. She considered poli-sci, but soon discovered that it wasn’t a good fit . Tori explains, “I wanted to do something hands-on, something that maximized my desire to restore, something that almost always resolved, and something that gave me the autonomy to make some of my own decisions. Nursing provided these opportunities.”

As she completes her junior year of studies, Tori considers her first career move. “As it stands, I hope to begin my career with the Veterans Affairs, or VA, hospital system. Although my Dad (CPT Eric Whitmore, USAF) was in and out of the service throughout my elementary and junior high years, I was immersed into the military community when mid-high school he was stationed in the Far East. Not just an island, but an island off of the island (that is, Okinawa). The sense of isolation soldiers and their families’ experience there can swallow a person and drive them to obsessive and intense workouts, substance abuse, or one another. As the chaplain’s daughter, I really only had one option. I found comfort by befriending those who suffered as I did and who, on an island 70×7 miles, would be those I saw daily at school, church, and in our neighborhood.

I’ve learned that our geriatric population also falls prey to isolation as their senses deteriorate and they spend more time in solitude. Those soldiers who returned home post-Vietnam and were met with resistance are particularly at risk and often don’t access their due benefits because of their distrust of the feds or the colossal amounts of so-called red tape. Who can reach them? Those who have suffered as they have.

I can’t pretend to have experienced the same events that veterans have undergone. But a community unlike any other I’ve encountered exists between those who have lost or feared loss in association with the US military; multiple times in complete strangers I have discovered old friends. As a nurse, I have the opportunity to stay connected with this community, while reducing suffering in all its expressions.”

Katie & Tori Whitmore

Though she didn’t realize it at the time, growing up in a military family prepared Tori for many aspects of college life. “I was very fortunate to have a father whose specialties in the USAF allowed him to be transferred to very diverse locations. Because he began his career as an enlisted broadcaster, he had a late start to the chaplaincy, which slowed his ranking as an officer. He was less “valuable” in terms of assignment placements so was more apt for getting those he was interested in. Thus, I spent roughly half of my life in overseas assignments in Portugal, Holland, and Japan.


Although I enjoyed the opportunities to explore the world through my father’s military career, I found that moving became more difficult as I grew older and tried to develop more meaningful relationships. Entering junior high in southwestern Oklahoma was no easy task and uprooting to Japan once settled was a huge hit. Texans just can’t do without their Friday night football and marching band!”

When she first entered Hardin-Simmons University, Tori immediately looked for ways to incorporate her global views and understanding into her college experience. Along with her sister, Katie, she became part of the International Student Fellowship. “The next year as the event coordinator, I was planning projects to introduce the Chinese Malaysians to cattle ranching and the cattle ranchers to Chinese New Year. Both were successful!”

Tori Whitmore with members of Hardin-Simmons International Student Fellowship

Tori also looked for a way to give back to the local community. She visited several churches and eventually found a special ministry which primarily served the homeless, impoverished, and underprivileged. Tori began volunteering with the kindergarten and first grade Sunday School class and after several weeks of assisting, the lead teaching position became available. Tori says, ” Here, on a golden platter, was my place of service. I look forward to seeing “my kids” every week!”

Next year, Tori will graduate from Hardin-Simmons with her BSN and will begin to serve others as a Registered Nurse. ThanksUSA is confident that Tori will make an excellent nurse and we look forward to bringing our supporters updates on her academics and future career. In closing, Tori delivers a special thank-you to the ESA Foundation for sponsoring her ThanksUSA scholarship:

“Many scholarships are available for first-year college students and then expire. Having faced my second year with significantly reduced financial aid, I was extremely concerned about entrance into nursing school in my third year. The ThanksUSA scholarship I received not only covered costs comparable to my $2,000 textbooks, but also my uniforms and other specialty equipment needed for the field. As a person who takes my studies very seriously, it’s a huge relief to be able to spend more time focusing on them and less time at the workplace to pay for school. Thank y’all so much!”

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



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Alexander Styer

This week’s featured scholar is $3000 ESA Foundation/ThanksUSA Scholarship recipient, Alexander Styer.  Alex developed a love for biology during his high school years and is now a Biology major at Georgetown University.  As the son of an Army aviator, Alex relocated often.  “If you count this relocation to Georgetown University, I have moved 15 times. Moving can be a challenge, but it also has it’s advantages. I’ve learned a lot from living in so many different places and have gained experiences that have shaped me into the individual I am today,” says Alex.

Today, Alex is embracing college life in the nation’s capitol.  Still committed to studying biology, he is torn between the environmental and pre-medical disciplines.  Alex explains, “I had always planned on becoming some kind of researcher for environmental science, but now my interests are starting to shift towards the medical sciences.”

Alex’s education is certainly important to him, but so is the education of others. During his first semester at Georgetown, Alex volunteered for the DC Schools Project which offers tutoring to local youths. His role in the program was quite an experience…Alex was responsible for driving tutors to and from students homes in a large nine passenger van. Although this may sound like a simple task, keep in mind that Georgetown is in the heart of DC. If you are not familiar with driving in the District, let me assure you that it can quite an (ahem) adventure!

Alex understands that maintaining a strong academic record now will help him achieve his future academic and career goals. He is appreciative of the financial aid he received from the ESA Foundation/ThanksUSA noting, “I can worry a little less about being able to afford a college experience. It means less headache and fewer loans which enable me to pursue my education with a clear, focused mind. I would like to thank the ESA Foundation and ThanksUSA for awarding me this scholarship.

ThanksUSA is proud to support Alex’s education and we hope he continues to excel at Georgetown. ThanksUSA scholarship applications for the 2011/2012 academic year will open April 1, 2011. Keep in mind that a new application is required every year regardless of receipt of past or present ThanksUSA Scholarships. Although you can only receive one ThanksUSA Scholarship per academic year, you can receive ThanksUSA scholarships for multiple years of undergraduate studies. You can sign up for an email reminder about the 2011 application period here.

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

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