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Posts Tagged ‘military spouse’

With the assistance of ThanksUSA scholarships totaling $9,000, Michelle Spradlin earned her degree from Tennessee Wesleyan College in 2012. Over the years, she has represented ThanksUSA scholars at outreach events and even contributed to this year’s ThanksUSA Treasure Hunt 9. Michelle is happy to share the following update with fellow ThanksUSA Alumni and Friends:

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Michelle & Eddie Spradlin

ThanksUSA has helped me fulfill more than my educational goals. During my husbands first deployment to Iraq, I was led to make a career change. I had worked in banking all of my adult life, but my calling was to work in the educational field.

ThanksUSA helped support me financially as I attained my degree to become a teacher. This is my second year in the classroom and I have the privelege of substituting for two long-term materninty leaves in the same grade. Actually, the classrooms are next door to each other. Some of the students I am working with this year, I had last school year in ESL and/or Math Intervention, which has been very helpful.

At the beginning of this school year, I was disappointed that I had not been hired to be a full-time classroom teacher, but it has worked out in my favor. My husband has recently returmed from the Share Initiative Program in Atlanta, Georgia. We are learning to make adjustments he needs to “really live” with PTSD, TBI and long term back issues. Working in the school system also allows me to be on our daughter, Kiley’s schedule, which I am very grateful for.

A way that Kiley and I have found to be able to cope with my husband’s injuries is to serve others. We have always spent time together doing mission projects at home. However over Christmas break, we went on our first international mission trip to Orphanage Emmanuel in Honduras. Not only was it an eye opening experience for a thirteen year old, but it was for me too.

I am grateful my husband is recovering from war related illnesses, we have each other, a home and live in a safe country. As my husband continues to improve, my daughter and I are planning to spend more time at the orphanage. This summer, I will volunteer to teach English in the orphanage school. I am currently taking the last college class needed to be a certified ESL (English Second Language) teacher.

Someday, I pray that my husband will be able to travel with me to do more international missions and perhaps adopt children. We always wanted more children, but due to deployments and his injuries, we were unable. I believe knowledge is power and having a formal education has fulfilled my dreams of being a teacher, being on our daughter’s schedule, to be home more than I was with my previous employer, and to be able to serve others. I am very thankful for ThanksUSA. It has allowed me to try to become the person that I want to be.

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2013 Graduate

Congratulations to Marine Corps spouse and ThanksUSA scholar MaKenna Arrigo! Earlier this year, with the assistance of a $3,000 Blavatnik Family Foundation/ThanksUSA scholarship, MaKenna completed her Psychology studies at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, earning Cum Laude honors.

Although her husband, Sergeant Christopher Arrigo, USMC, was deployed at the time, MaKenna’s mother, Marilyn Hughes, and her grandfather, Michael McDonough were in attendance to support their graduate.

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“It was the one of the happiest days of my life and also one of the most emotional as I wished my late father and my deployed husband could have been there.”

The military has always been part of MaKenna’s life. Her grandfather served in the Army during the Korean War and her father, CWO Robert Buotte, dedicated over 28 years of service to the Coast Guard before his unexpected passing in 2010.

Now that she has earned her BA in Psychology, MaKenna has been busy making plans for graduate school. Ultimately, she would like to pursue a career as a social worker within the military community.

MaKenna_Arrigo 2012

“As both a military child and spouse, I want to thank the supporters of the ThanksUSA organization from the bottom of my heart. The support from this organization has given me a chance to achieve an undergraduate college degree and now set my sights higher to a masters degree.”

.The ThanksUSA team congratulates MaKenna on her academic accomplishments and wishes her continued success with her graduate studies. In the coming weeks, Scholarship News readers will be introduced to the new 2013-2014 ThanksUSA scholarship recipients, so be sure to check back often.

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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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2013 TTTT Flyer-Update 6.3.13

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I find it inspiring that most ThanksUSA scholarship recipients report that they are passionate about their chosen field of study. When I first spoke with Nguyen Pham Seymour, I could hear this passion in her voice. Nguyen, a Marine Corps spouse, received a $3,000 LM&O Advertising/ThanksUSA Scholarship for her final year of Marketing and Psychology studies at Brigham Young University-Hawaii. Just months from graduating, Nguyen is excited to share her educational accomplishments and career goals with ThanksUSA supporters.

Nguyen Pham Seymour

Nguyen first became interested in marketing when her employer challenged staff members to improve sales during the slow season. She suggested a loyalty program and volunteered to chart customer activities during implementation. Both Nguyen and her employer were pleased to see increased demand and higher client retention while competitors continued to struggle.

From that point on, Nguyen explains, “I became interested in analyzing consumer behavior during store visits. In my spare time, I would read psychology materials to gain insight about consumer behaviors. Then, I would form new marketing campaigns to capture consumers’ attention and awareness.”

For Nguyen, majoring in both marketing and psychology has been the perfect combination. “My goal,” she says, “is to have a career where I can fully utilize my analytical and quantitative skills to help businesses and organizations identify difficulties and effectively implement solutions.”

During her time at BYU-Hawaii, Nguyen has had the opportunity to work with various organizations like Deseret International, Sothys Paris, and the Sheraton and Sofital hotels. When I asked Nguyen about her favorite marketing project, she admitted that it was nearly impossible to choose, but added, “If I must (choose), I’d have to say working with Hawaii North Shore Chamber of Commerce (NSCOC) was a great experience overall. During the 6 months of working on the project, I gained tremendous insights about the marketing research process, as well as how to manage my team effectively. The NSCOC was so impressed with the result, that they asked us to present the data at the 4th Annual Hawaii North Shore Business Expo.”

Although Nguyen and her team presented their results to high-level corporate executives and Hawaiian decision makers, she says, “The best part is that businesses of all sizes can implement the results from our study to become more effective in their marketing communication efforts.”

Though she is very talented and has the education and experience to raise the profits of a potential employer, Nguyen is hardly driven by dollar signs. Instead, the devoted Marine Corps spouse is more concerned with using her strengths to help her extended military family.

She is currently in the process of building a website devoted to post traumatic stress disorder resources. With many of our active duty and retired military members suffering from PTSD, Nguyen wants to provide victims, family members, friends, and their entire support network with the latest information. She also has plans to provide innovative marketing methods and brand management training to small and mid-size businesses operated by military members and military dependents. “As a life-time member of the national honor society Phi Kappa Phi, I hope to reach and change as many lives as possible and give back to those who serve and sacrifice for our nation,” she adds.

As the spouse of CPL Michael Blake Seymour, USMC, Nguyen understands sacrifice. “There is no amount of training that will prepare you to be a Marine’s wife. One thing I have learned is that anything can happen at any given moment and I need to be prepared when he leaves. Be it deployment, training, duty, there is no such thing as certainty when you are the wife of a Marine,” she remarks.

Corporal and Mrs. Michael Blake Seymour

Corporal and Mrs. Michael Blake Seymour

Aside from the stresses of military life, the Seymours are dealing with a personal health issue. Diagnosed with the rare Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, Blake recently underwent a complicated surgery. Nguyen was relieved to report that her husband has fully recovered, returned to work, and would eventually like to start a non-profit dedicated to WPW patients.

For now, the couple is planning for their next transition. Nguyen will graduate from BYU-Hawaii in April with degrees in both Marketing and Psychology, with a minor in Economics. She is proud to announce that she has accepted a position with Goldman Sachs and will start her new career in the summer. Before then, Nguyen and Blake plan to devote a month volunteering in Asia and the Pacific. What a great way to celebrate all that she has accomplished!

I hope that all ThanksUSA scholarship recipients will remain passionate about their chosen field. If you truly love what you’re doing, you’ll live a very happy life. On behalf of the entire ThanksUSA Team, I wish all of our supporters, scholarship recipients, and military families a very Happy New Year!

“I’d like to say “Thank You” for the generosity and thoughtfulness of the sponsors that allow ThanksUSA to accomplish its mission in supporting military personnel and their family members, who pay the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.”  — Nguyen Pham Seymour

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Samantha McEnhill has had an exciting year. Within the past twelve months, she has gotten married, relocated 2,000 miles from her previous home, and has, ever so slightly, altered her education plan. This week, Samantha speaks about staying focused on her academic goals while adjusting to military life.

Samantha spent much of her childhood honing her musical performance skills. As she aged, the enjoyment that she got from playing instruments developed into a love for music. Soon after, she realized the cultural value of all the arts and explains, “From visual art to literature, my love for the humanities and fine arts grew from a budding curiosity into a genuine passion.”

Thanks, in part, to a $3,000 Stephen Curry/ThanksUSA Scholarship, Samantha is now able to study the arts full-time. Samantha’s academic journey began three years ago at Michigan State University. When her husband received orders to California, Samantha was determined to complete her education. She is currently studying liberal arts at Solano Community College and plans to return to a four-year university to finish her humanities degree.

Samantha says, “Even though my bachelor’s degree may be taking longer to finish than I originally planned, I am staying focused on the positives. I would definitely encourage others not to dwell on setbacks you may be facing!”

Samantha also points out that she is not alone on her academic journey. Her husband, Airman Richard “Rick” McEnhill II, USAF, is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree with plans to commission as a Combat Rescue Officer. Samantha adds, “He is a great man, and I am so glad I get to stand by his side and watch his military career progress, all the way from its beginning to end!”

The young couple has adapted well to their first big PCS. They have settled into their new home, found a welcoming church to call their own, and began volunteering with San Francisco’s Marine Mammal Center.

As Rick and Samantha face the challenges of military life together, Samantha’s attitude remains positive. Ideally, she will earn her teaching credentials so that she can teach art history or humanities. She realizes that another PCS could further delay her degree, but says, “This is not a race to see who can finish their degree first. The education does not diminish in value based on the time it takes to complete.”

Well said, Samantha! ThanksUSA is honored to provide scholarships to military dependents and spouses. You can help provide the gift of education by making your tax-deductible donation today. You can even direct your Combined Federal Campaign contribution to ThanksUSA by using code 99441 on your pledge form.

“The Stephen Curry/ThanksUSA Scholarship has made an incredible difference in my education this year! We can breathe so much easier knowing that there are foundations like ThanksUSA who are willing to offer scholarship support to military families, so we can continue our education. We are so grateful.”

– Samantha McEnhill

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Thank the Troops by Giving the Gift of Education

As part of Tennis Thanks the Troops, the United States Professional Tennis Association and ThanksUSA have teamed up to encourage USPTA professionals to fund scholarships for the families of military men and women.

Holly & Lam Le

During Tennis Thanks the Troops, Veterans Day, November 11, the tennis community nationwide is asked to donate a minimum of $5 to the ThanksUSA organization, which provides need-based post-secondary scholarships for college, technical and vocational school, to the children and spouses of active-duty military men and women. Since its inception in 2006, ThanksUSA has awarded 2,800 scholarships totaling nearly $8.5 million.

Many USTA clubs have already hosted tournaments in support of Tennis Thanks the Troops. Earlier this year, the San Diego District Tennis Association, a member of USTA Southern California, made Tennis Thanks the Troops a part of their Annual Tennis Fest. As a reward for raising the most funds for ThanksUSA during the first half of the year, SDDTA received two tickets to the 2012 U.S. Open. Dedicated to our military heroes, SDDTA passed the tickets on to Wounded Warrior, SGT Lam Le, USMC, and spouse, Holly.

Raise your racquets in support of our troops and their families by providing the gift of education. Register your club today!

SDDTA recently presented Marine Corps spouse, Kara Andryushina, with the $3,000 San Diego District Tennis Association/ThanksUSA Scholarship. Pictured above are M.A. Hillier, SDDTA Board Member, Steve Kappes, SDDTA President, Geoff Griffin, SDDTA Board Member and Tennis Director at Balboa Tennis Club, Colonel Aleksandr Andryushina, USMC, Kara’s mother Barbara, Kara, Kara’s step-father Richard, and Aleksandr & Kara’s daughter Madison

Kara is currently completing her Respiratory Therapy studies at Grossmont College. When she graduates next May, this dedicated wife and mother plans to pursue a career as a pulmonary rehabilitation specialist at a VA hospital.

Kara’s educational journey has not been easy. In 2010, while completing pre-requisites for the respiratory therapy program, she received notice that her husband, Corporal Aleksandr Andryushina, had been injured while serving in Afghanistan.

Aleksandr had been medically evacuated to Germany for evaluation. Not only did a CT scan confirm a brain injury, the scan also revealed a brain tumor. Kara put her studies on hold to be with her husband. The young family, including daughter Madison, spent the next year focusing on Aleksandr’s health.

Currently, Aleksandr is assigned to the Wounded Warrior Battalion West as he continues with his recovery. Kara resumed her respiratory therapy studies and is looking forward to graduating with honors. Even young Madison has an update…she will soon be a big sister.

“I cannot express how grateful my family and I are to have this gift of education. My husband has been a great example of what tenacity means and what it takes to remain positive in the face of adversity. You have given us more than just a monetary gift, you have given us peace of mind in a time of uncertainty.”
– Kara Andryushina

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