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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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