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Posts Tagged ‘psychology’

Frances KarnuthWhether you’re military or civilian, we’ve all had those overwhelming moments that just seem impossible to overcome. This week’s featured ThanksUSA scholar, Frances Karnuth, has a very inspirational outlook on those moments. “You can sit there and be overwhelmed, or you can get up and change the situation. Your goals are much more attainable than you think!”

A Coast Guard spouse and mother of six, Frances was awarded a $3,000 Pershing Square Foundation/ThanksUSA scholarship for her Psychology and Nursing majors. With the end goal of becoming a Nurse Practitioner, Frances is currently enrolled in both Regent University and Maryville University.

Over twenty years ago, Frances enrolled in a nursing program and was doing very well. Unfortunately, she had to take a medical leave of absence and during that time, the school closed. Although she was unable to complete the program, Frances says, “The desire to become a nurse never waned.”

Though a nursing degree was still her goal, family commitments took priority. Her husband, Franz, was beginning an active-duty career in the United States Coast Guard and the couple were starting their family.

When she was just three years old, the Karnuths’ eldest daughter, Janelle, was diagnosed with cancer. “This resulted in years of extensive chemotherapy and follow-up appointments.” Being a stay-at-home mom during those years provided the entire family with nurturing stability and consistency.

Frances has home-schooled each of her children. Over the years, she has grown to recognize different learning styles and study habits. Having to adjust a lesson plan or modify her teaching has had a very positive effect on her as a student. Frances explains, “I have a better understanding of how to adapt so that I can succeed.”

If her teaching success is any indication, Frances will have no problem succeeding as a student. Today, Janelle is a happy, healthy, young woman who is working towards a degree in Creative Arts Therapy. Son Josh is a lab technician at a package testing laboratory (he actually gets to blow things up!), while son Tim is a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Army. Younger children, Josiah, Eric, and Elisha still sit down and do homework at the same time as Mom. “They often see me working just a hard as they do. I learn–that’s my job!” In 2009, Franz retired from the Coast Guard after 22 years of service. He continues to serve our country as a civilian.

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Many military spouses contemplate returning to school. When asked if she had advice to offer, Frances said, “It’s easier if you’re flexible with your goals. I plan to accomplish my professional goal by working diligently towards completing smaller goals.”

Setting those smaller goals is certainly working to her advantage. Frances will earn her Associates Degree in Psychology this spring from Regent University and will transfer to Maryville as a full-time student seeking dual Bachelor degrees in Nursing and Psychology.  She explains, “By including both physical and psychological aspects to my training as a nurse practitioner, I will be better equipped to understand the medical needs of my patients.”

With encouragement from her loving family, the military community, and ThanksUSA supporters, Frances will continue to succeed. She is appreciative of the Pershing Square/ThanksUSA scholarship and says, “Your gift helps me financially and has provided a much-needed dose of emotional encouragement. It is wonderful knowing that others have faith in me. Thank you again–I won’t let you down.”

The ThanksUSA team extends our warmest wishes to all families, military and civilian, this Holiday season. We thank you for contributing to ThanksUSA scholarships in 2013 and encourage you to support the educational goals of military spouses, like Frances, by making your tax-deductible donation to ThanksUSA today.

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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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Sabrina Shah 2013Sabrina Shah intends to create a safe and healthy future for developing children. With the financial assistance of a $3,000 Jackson Casey Fund/ThanksUSA scholarship, Sabrina is completing her final year of undergraduate studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Since 2009, Sabrina has received ThanksUSA scholarships totaling $12,000. In just a few months, she will earn degrees in both Psychology and Media & Communication Studies.

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Sabrina’s interest in psychology began early. She often read articles or watched videos that focused on the subject. When she enrolled in an AP Psychology class in high school, Sabrina realized that she wasn’t merely learning facts; she truly understood and enjoyed every psychology lesson that was being taught.

After exploring several disciplines, Sabrina decided to focus on developmental psychology. Even as a teen, she was starting to realize that “troubled” students were the result of their environment.

Kinza & Sabrina Shah

Kinza & Sabrina Shah

Sabrina is most interested in combining her majors to study the effects of media on the social development of children. Through her studies and research, she has realized that media can be used to promote focus and learning in the classroom.

One of Sabrina’s most fascinating research projects involved pediatric cancer patients. Her team created virtual reality helmets that patients wore during treatments. Watching positive imagery produced a calming effect that distracted the young children during painful or scary treatments. Sabrina believes that the use of such media can actually alleviate or prevent psychological trauma.

Though she is always eager to experiment with, and learn from, different fields of psychology, Sabrina reports that she always returns to developmental psychology. Like most enthusiastic students, Sabrina belongs to groups and clubs that enhance her learning experience. She is member of the UMBC Philosophy Club and the Psychology Honors Society (Psi Chi), and has participated in the Model UN since high school.

Besides study related activities, Sabrina devotes much of her time to charitable organizations. She is most involved with Challah for Hunger, which raises funds to fight hunger and poverty through the sale of homemade challah bread.

As she nears graduation, Sabrina is preparing to continue her education, possibly at Cornell University, with the intention of earning her PhD in Developmental Psychology. With such dedication to both her major field of study and helping others through her charitable work, Sabrina is likely to impact many lives.

I think it’s important to note that Sabrina is not the only successful collegiate in her family. In 2006, her older brother, Zain, received a $5,000 ThanksUSA scholarship for his studies at Brooklyn College. Zain is now pursuing a career in computer engineering. Younger sister, Kinza, is off to a great start at Towson University where she is majoring in Speech Pathology.

Sabrina, her mother Tasneem, and sister Kinza

Sabrina, her mother Tasneem, and sister Kinza

As Sabrina prepares for graduate school, Kinza is preparing to apply for a 2013-2014 ThanksUSA scholarship. Applications will be accepted between April 1 and May 15, 2013, and potential applicants are encouraged to register for a reminder.

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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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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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Since graduating from High School, Jennifer Benecke knew that she wanted to pursue an undergraduate degree. Though her academic journey may have been delayed, Jennifer is currently in her final year of studies at the University of Maryland. This busy mother, military spouse, full-time student, and volunteer has been awarded a $3000 Sam V. Suplizio/ThanksUSA Scholarship to complete her BS in Psychology.

Jennifer and Dominick Benecke

When Jennifer was setting academic and career goals, she really wanted to be a Physician’s Assistant. At the time, she and husband, Chief Petty Officer George Benecke, U.S. Navy, were stationed in Hawaii and there were no PA programs of study. Jennifer decided to take the pre-requisite coursework that could later be applied to a PA degree. One of those courses, psychology, immediately piqued her interest and observations in her daily life inspired her to pursue psychology as a major.

Jennifer and her son, Dominick, would ride the city bus and one of the designated stops was the VA hospital. Instead of seeing proud men and women who should be treated with honor and respect, Jennifer witnessed ill-treatment and disregard.

Both she and George have very clear values and always try to give back to their community and help others. She realized that if she shifted her educational focus to psychology, she could pursue a career that would specifically allow her to assist military veterans.

Jennifer lost her father earlier this year and knows that he would be especially proud of the career path she has set for herself. “Earning this degree and giving back to the military community honors my father’s own service to the US Navy…some of the happiest times in his life,” she adds.

If you congratulate Jennifer on her academic accomplishments, she will be quick to credit the loving support of her husband. She says that he “really stepped up” with encouragement and extra household chores. They both learned to prioritize and not over-schedule. “It’s easy to get overwhelmed if you try to do everything. Time management is critical”

The family honed their time management skills to ensure that she could attend school full-time. She’s careful to match her academic schedule with her son’s elementary school schedule and makes sure that he sees her completing homework. “It’s so important to set educational standards and seeing my planning and dedication makes him strive to be the best.”

The ThanksUSA team wishes Jennifer continued academic success. We’re comforted knowing that our deserving American Veterans will have such a caring counselor.

“This scholarship is so special to me because it is the final piece to completing a dream I have had since graduating high school. Without this scholarship I would not have had the means to finish the last year of my bachelors degree.”  – Jennifer Benecke

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