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Posts Tagged ‘scholarship’

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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Craig ThurberIf you were to ask Craig Thurber about his lifelong goal, he may simply answer, “Be better.” With the assistance of a $3,000 Lockheed Martin/ThanksUSA scholarship, the Army National Guard dependent is attending Southwestern College where he is pushing himself to be a better student, a better athlete, and an all-around better person.

A natural athlete, Craig is pursuing a degree in Athletic Training. “I intend to utilize this degree and work as an Athletic Trainer while going to Physical Therapy school. I enjoy helping others and am excited to work in a health care/sports environment.” To compliment his studies, Craig is actively involved with various sports teams. He’s a linebacker for the Southwestern Moundbuilders and will play intramural basketball in the offseason.

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Craig with his biggest fans–his sisters!

Though sports and education are important to Craig, family is paramount. In 2006, Craig’s stepfather, MSG Bernard Deghand, was killed in the line of duty while serving in Afghanistan. Only ten years old at the time, Craig challenged himself to be a father figure to his youngest sister. He developed a drive to succeed and lead by example, a drive to “be better.”

Craig mentions that he would want his stepfather to be proud of the man he is becoming. “I honor his memory by kneeling and talking to him on the football field right before each game. I also have a photo of him in my dorm room. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without him.”

There is no doubt that MSG Deghand would be proud of Craig. He is succeeding as a scholar, an athlete, and a positive role model to his sister and fellow athletes. ThanksUSA is honored to award scholarships to deserving students like Craig Thurber.

“Thank you very much for supporting me and helping me to be better.” — Craig Thurber, Southwestern College class of 2017

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With a passion for the environment, Haley Schaeffer plans to advance upon the work of great conservationists like Jane Goodall, Steven Amstrup, and John Muir. The Coast Guard dependent was awarded a $3,000 ESA Foundation/ThanksUSA scholarship to pursue her Conservation Biology Degree at St. Lawrence University.

Haley SchaefferHaley explains, “Climate Change and Environmental Devastation are two things which I have become personally invested in the past several years.” Before graduating high school, she had already volunteered over 1800 hours as a ZooTeen at the Oregon Zoo, served as an ambassador for the Johnson Creek Watershed, and was president of her high school’s Conservation Corps. .

This past summer, Haley traveled to Costa Rica where use volunteered with the Sea Turtle Restoration Center. When the fall term started, she was eager to involve herself in campus activities that would supplement her major. She joined the Environmental Action Organization which works to keep the St. Lawrence campus environmentally responsible. “We attended the national Powershift Conference, which really helped to open my eyes to how most of the social and environmental issues prevalent today are connected. It was great to see so many people who are taking action!”

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Taken in Costa Rica near the Sea Turtle Restoration Center

Haley is also embracing the natural beauty of the surrounding Adirondacks. She enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking and kayaking, as well as working on local communes. “Being involved in nature inspires me to do my part to protect the ecosystems that I am in.”

Haley’s father, Chief Boatswain’s Mate Daniel Schaeffer, retired from the Coast Guard after serving during a span of over thirty years. “I respect him and am proud of his contribution to our armed forces. It makes me even more driven to do my part to protect our natural environment as he did the people and resources of our rivers and coast lines.”

Ultimately, Haley plans to continue her education, earning a Master’s in Wildlife Management and a Doctorate in Conservation Biology and Ecology. Since Haley’s experiences thus far have only strengthened her desires to advance conservation efforts, the ThanksUSA team is confident that she will reach her goals and likely inspire fellow students along the way.

“Since being named a recipient of the ESA Foundation/ThanksUSA scholarship, my dream of majoring in Conservation Biology is becoming a realty. Thank you so much again for your contribution! I could not have attended this school if it were not for kind people and organizations such as you.”

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THANKSUSA ANNOUNCES NINTH ANNUAL TREASURE HUNT CHALLENGE

November 26, 2013, Washington, DC – ThanksUSA and their partner the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) Foundation today announced the launch of the ninth annual ThanksUSA Treasure Hunt (TH9), a free, fully interactive digital trivia and puzzle game about U.S. history, culture and values. The hunt supports ThanksUSA’s annual scholarship fund to benefit the children and spouses of active-duty military personnel by providing need-based scholarships for two-year or four-year colleges, vocational or technical schools. The focus of this year’s hunt will be the United States Bill of Rights.

The digital trivia game will be assessable starting Thanksgiving Day, November 28. Participants will be quizzed on the Bill of Rights’ history, purpose and implications on American life. It is the first of six Treasure Hunt chapters available for free online (www.thanksusa.org) and via mobile application.

“Treasure Hunt 9 promises to be one of our most challenging contests ever, engaging students and their families across the country while reminding them of the sacrifices of our troops,” said ThanksUSA Executive Director Michele Stork. “The ESA Foundation’s continued support for the contest and scholarships will help ThanksUSA cross the $10 million mark in scholarships.”

The ESA Foundation has underwritten the annual Treasure Hunt series for five years and also funds 25 “ESA Foundation/ThanksUSA Scholarships” annually. Since its inception in 2005, more than 12,000 Americans have engaged in ThanksUSA treasure hunts that reflect the nation’s history, values and culture while raising awareness and funds for the educational pursuits of military families.

“The U.S. video game industry is proud to support our nation’s troops and their families,” said Jenny Lai, vice president of the ESA Foundation. “We are proud to help educate children through the use of digital technology and bring our unique and impactful resources to augment ThanksUSA’s remarkable mission and work.”

Following the official launch of Treasure Hunt Nine on November 28, subsequent chapters will be introduced on the first of each month beginning January 1, 2014. The six-month Bill of Rights challenge will close on May 31, 2014, and will be followed by a summer bonus round slated for July 4 – August 15, 2014.

Four players who correctly answer each chapter’s questions will each receive a $250 Walmart gift certificate. A grand prize – a $500 Walmart gift card – will be drawn from the pool of individuals who correctly answer all questions in each round.

The Treasure Hunt series serves to generate attention and donations for ThanksUSA’s annual scholarship fund. Since 2006, ThanksUSA award over 3,000 need-based scholarships valued at nearly $10 million to families representing all branches of the armed services across all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

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ThanksUSA_Logo_1About ThanksUSA
Founded in the fall of 2005, ThanksUSA, a non-partisan 501(c) (3) organization, is an effort to thank the men and women of our armed forces and their families for their service to the country with the gift of education. The organization provides need-based, post-secondary education opportunities to the children and spouses of active-duty status military personnel through competitive scholarships. For more information, please visit www.ThanksUSA.org.

PrintAbout the ESA Foundation
The ESA Foundation was created by the American interactive entertainment software industry to support and provide opportunities that can make a difference in the lives of America’s youth. The Foundation is fully supported by proceeds from industry projects and and its annual fundraiser, “A Nite to Unite – for Kids.” For more information about the ESA Foundation, please visit www.ESAFoundation.org

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THANKSUSA MARKS $9 MILLION MILESTONE

More than 3,000 children and spouses of U.S. troops awarded the gift of education

Mclean, VA – August 29, 2013 – ThanksUSA today announced that it has awarded more than $9 million to date in post-secondary school scholarships for the children and spouses of U.S. troops. This milestone includes approximately 300 new scholarships awarded over the past week, totaling nearly $1 million in funds.

Since its founding in 2005 by sisters Rachel and Kelsi Okun, ThanksUSA has awarded over 3,000 scholarships to military families in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

“We were just girls – I was 10 and Kelsi was eight – when we started looking for a way to thank our troops for all they sacrifice in keeping us safe,” said Rachel Okun, now 17. “Over the past eight years, we have been overwhelmed by the generosity of those who feel the same and who want to help support military families through ThanksUSA.”

“We understood the importance of a good education and wanted to share our blessings with the families of our service men and women,” added Kelsi Okun, now 14. “The gift of education is the perfect way to do so.”

The Okun sisters travel the country speaking with ThanksUSA scholarship recipients in order to introduce them to Americans through video profiles and speeches. ThanksUSA’s new videos will be released at the organization’s annual gala at Washington DC’s Newseum on September 25, 2013, hosted by Lara Logan of CBS News. Tom Brokaw will be honored at the gala as will Col. Lanier Ward, survivor of a critical battle in Iraq and inspiration for ThanksUSA. Senator Roy Blunt, who represents 74 Missouri scholarship recipients, will also be honored. Senator Blunt took a personal interest in ThanksUSA as a House Member discussing the program with the troops in Iraq during the formative years of the program.

Among this year’s award recipients is Donnice Roberts, proud widow of U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Kevin Casey Roberts. Donnice is pursuing dual degrees in Education and Rehabilitation Services with the end goal of working within the military community.

“I am truly grateful to ThanksUSA for this generous scholarship. I want to honor my husband’s legacy by using my education to help fellow military families. My children are learning that even through tragedy, we can overcome and succeed. With your support, I will make a difference and I will succeed.”

ThanksUSA also announced today a continuing partnership with the world-record holding doubles tennis twins Bob and Mike Bryan. The organization has established a nationwide Tennis Thanks the Troops campaign – a partnership with the United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) involving tennis pros, fans and local communities, and presents an online challenge called the “ ThanksUSA Treasure Hunt,” sponsored since 2008 by the Entertainment Software Association Foundation, which explore the nation’s history, culture and values.

As the battle in Iraq ends and the conflict in Afghanistan winds down, ThanksUSA plans to step up efforts to support the families of military personnel who are re-integrating into the workplace. Helping service members’ children and spouses advance their education and achieve successful careers will relieve the new pressures that challenge those who have returned home.

“Our troops and their families deserve our respect and our thanks for their service in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last 12 years,” said General George Casey, former Army Chief of Staff and ThanksUSA board member. “They have borne significant burdens to protect this country, and we cannot allow their contributions to be quickly forgotten. Their mission of defending us is, unfortunately, not over.”

About ThanksUSA
ThanksUSA is a non-partisan, charitable effort to mobilize Americans of all ages to “thank” the men and women of the United States armed forces. The organization provides college, technical and vocational school scholarships for the children and spouses of active-duty status military personnel. For more information, visit www.thanksusa.org.

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2013 Graduate

Congratulations to Air Force dependent Michael Atkins, Jr, who graduated from North Carolina State University with degrees in Sociology and Political Science. While at NC State, the Thomas Jefferson Scholar received consecutive ThanksUSA scholarships totaling $9,000. With his undergraduate studies complete, Michael is eagerly preparing for law school.

Graduation announcement

Michael has remained actively involved with ThanksUSA throughout his college years. He was first introduced to ThanksUSA supporters in a Scholarship News feature during his freshman year. He represented ThanksUSA scholarship recipients at our 2010 Congressional Round Table and has written letters of thanks to individual donors. Most recently, Michael has been meeting with fellow ThanksUSA scholarship recipients to establish a ThanksUSA alumni group.

ThanksUSA is just one of many charitable organizations that Michael contributes his time and energy to. He has made a lifetime commitment to community service and was even appointed to the North Carolina Commission for Volunteerism and Community Service at the age of 19.

Please join the ThanksUSA team in congratulating Michael on his academic accomplishments and wishing him continued success with law school. Congratulations Michael!!

In 2012, Michael had the opportunity to study abroad at the University of Manchester. He was able to fit in some incredible sightseeing which he is happy to share with ThanksUSA supporters:

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ThanksUSA benefit concert hosted by Caleb Harris

Caleb Harris is hosting a benefit concert at Clarendon Grill on Sunday June 23, 2013. Proceeds will benefit ThanksUSA— a non-partisan charitable effort to “thank” the men and women of the armed forces by providing need-based scholarships for their children and spouses (visit ThanksUSA.org for more information about ThanksUSA).

Doors will open at 5:00PM and cover band Partners in Crime will go on at 6:15. Clarendon Grill is offering drink specials, including $2 domestic drafts & bottles from 5:00-7:00PM. 100% of the $10 door cover will go to ThanksUSA. Door cover will include one raffle ticket and prizes will be drawn throughout the night. Additional raffle tickets will be available for purchase.

Clarendon Grill
1101 N Highland St
Arlington, VA  22201
June 23, 2013
Time: 5:00 pm 

If you would like to donate a raffle prize for the concert, please contact Caleb at:

Email: cmharri12@gmail.com
Cell: 304-667-7538

 Step up to the plate to ThanksUSA with Caleb Harris at Nationals Park

In addition to the concert, Caleb has partnered with the Washington Nationals to offer fundraiser tickets for the June 27th baseball game at Nationals Park against the Arizona Diamondbacks.  The Nationals have agreed to donate $20 to ThanksUSA for every ticket purchased on their website using promo code CALEB.  Tickets can be purchase at http://nationals.com/tickets or click HERE to go directly to the ticket purchase page for the June 27th game.

Donation can also be made directly to ThanksUSA using credit card or PayPal at: Donate to ThanksUSA.  Please don’t change the “donation towards” field.  It should be set to “KPMG USA” in order to pool all of our contributions.

Our total fundraising effort will be recognized during a pre-game, on-field donation presentation ceremony on June 27th at Nationals Park.  So purchase your ticket, make a donation, and then come out to Nationals Park to see the result of your efforts!

Nationals Park
1500 South Capitol Street SE
Washington, DC  20003
June 27, 2013
Time: 4:00 pm
 
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2013 Graduate

Congratulations to 2013 graduate, Tyler Cecchini! The daughter of Marianne and Lieutenant Colonel Robert Cecchini, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret), Tyler received ThanksUSA scholarships totaling $6,000 during her undergraduate studies. She recently earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Design and Technology, with a specialization in costumes, from the University of Central Florida. A member of the Burnett Honors College, she graduated Cum Laude with Honors and is currently working in the costume department of Sea World Orlando.

Tyler Cecchini

Tyler & Shelby Cecchini

Tyler’s sister Shelby also had a stellar academic year. Shelby received a $3,000 ThanksUSA scholarship for her freshman year at the University of Central Florida where she majors in Creative Writing with a Technical Writing minor. Shelby made the Dean’s list both semesters and may add a second major, Technical Communications, in the fall.

The ThanksUSA team commends both Tyler and Shelby for their academic achievements. We hope you’ll join us in congratulating not only these bright young women, but all ThanksUSA scholarship recipients on a job well done!

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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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Orren_Charlotte 2012.

Navy dependent Charlotte Orren is a patriotic young woman who plans to serve our great nation as an Aerospace Engineer. She envisions more energy-efficient engines, advances in aircraft design, and sub-orbital space flights for commercial passengers. To help make her dreams a reality, Charlotte has applied her $3,000 Folds of Honor Foundation/ThanksUSA scholarship to continue her studies at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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Though her academic success is clearly her own, Charlotte reports that her father’s career was an influence in choosing her major. Commander Scott Orren, USN (Ret), amassed over 21 years of aeronautical expertise as a naval aviator and engineer. As Charlotte considered college majors, CDR Orren took the time to explain the many facets of engineering and aerodynamics.

Taking a serious interest in airframe design, Charlotte chose to major in aerospace engineering with the goal of working with industry leaders to design advanced airframe technologies for our Armed Services. Now in her sophomore year, she has an impressive GPA, represents her campus through student organizations, and is a student athlete.

Charlotte’s athleticism began with tennis at a very early age. After playing for several years though, she realized that her heart just wasn’t into it. Although she had played an occasional round of golf over the years, she hadn’t really worked on improving her game. By the age of thirteen, Charlotte began to take golf more seriously; developing skills and discipline that would carry over to her academic life. As a member of the Westview High School Girl’s Golf Team, Charlotte earned MVP honors and became a team captain.

When it was time for Charlotte to consider college, she knew that golf would remain an important factor in her post-secondary education.   With the mentoring of Head Coach Maria Lopez, Charlotte has been a member of the Embry-Riddle Eagles Women’s Golf Team since she entered college. Charlotte has a deep respect for her coach noting, “Coach Lopez saw something in me that I’m just now realizing, or seeing, in myself.”

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She has applied Coach Lopez’s patient guidance to every aspect of her life. In learning to remain positive and appreciate her own strengths, Charlotte gained great self esteem. Her newfound confidence challenged her to be more involved with campus activities and volunteerism in the surrounding community.

Team Run

Charlotte is a nominated student leader for Campus Outreach, works as a student assistant for Embry-Riddle’s Annual Giving department, and has even sung the National Anthem for Embry-Riddle sporting events! Charlotte is also an enthusiastic supporter of local charities, participating in various 5k runs and LPGA tournaments. Her favorite local event is the annual Thanksgiving Basket Brigade. She is just one of many Volusia County citizens who collect and deliver food and supplies to needy area families. Charlotte adds,Knowing I could be a person’s encouragement that day just by showing kindness blows me away every time.”

Charlotte singing the National Anthem (photo by Antoine Daugny)

Charlotte singing the national anthem (photo by Antoine Daugny)

Without a doubt, Charlotte is making the most of her time at Embry-Riddle. She says, “I am learning so many valuable lessons that I would not be able to learn anywhere else.” ThanksUSA is proud to support earnest military dependents like Charlotte. You can help provide the gift of education to military families by making your tax-deductible donation today.

Charlotte at work as a Student Assistant for Annual Giving Support“I am so thankful for the Folds of Honor Foundation/ThanksUSA scholarship. Growing up in a military family, I sincerely appreciate life as it is given to me, not something that is simply mine. I truly am receiving an education of a lifetime and priceless life lessons. I would sincerely like to thank you again for helping me continue my experience at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and shaping my future to the best it can be!”

— Charlotte Orren

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imagesSince early childhood, Alexis Wilt consistently demonstrated a drive to succeed. The Air Force dependent performed well academically and remained active in various sports organizations. Although several of her extra-curricular interests have changed over time, her main goal has remained the same. Alexis wants to become an attorney.

“My career goals have intensified as I learn more about the law. I know that I have chosen a challenging major, but that challenge keeps me motivated.”

In preparation for college, Alexis took several law classes and spent the past two summers working in a law firm. Through the firm, she was given the opportunity to participate in Teen Court. This alternative to juvenile court allows first time offenders to be represented, judged, and sanctioned by their peers. With the guidance of an attorney, Alexis represented peer clients while gaining firsthand experience with court procedures and the legal system.

FSU softball + Alexis WiltNow, with the assistance of a $3,000 Harry C. McPherson Jr/ThanksUSA scholarship, Alexis has begun her Pre-Law major at Florida State University. Embracing all that FSU has to offer, Alexis has become very active on campus. She joined the Phi Mu sorority, participated in many campus activities like spirit week and homecoming, and has dedicated dozens of hours to community service. She played intramural volleyball and is a member of the FSU club softball team. Alexis is proud to report that she made the Dean’s list and wrapped up the fall semester with a 3.94 GPA.

“I’m so honored and blessed to have received such a generous donation to help me further my education and follow my passion in law. Mr. McPherson’s legacy not only made my dreams a possibility but his amazing achievements and contributions are so inspiring and continue to motivate me to pursue my interest in justice.”

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Alexis with her proud parents, TSG Daniel Wilt, USAF (Ret), and Diana Wilt

Upon completion of her undergraduate degree, Alexis plans to attend the Stetson University College of Law to earn her Juris Doctorate.  Alexis says that her dream job would be working with the State Attorney’s Office as a civil rights lawyer. She is certainly a deserving representative of the Harry C. McPherson Jr/ThanksUSA scholarship!

The ThanksUSA team wants all college bound military dependents and spouses to apply for a ThanksUSA scholarship. Applications for the 2013-2014 ThanksUSA scholarship will be accepted between April 1 and May 15 of this year. It’s not too early to register for a reminder – just click here. Please make sure to share the link with military families.

“I would like to thank you for the Harry C. McPherson Jr/ThanksUSA scholarship that I was awarded and let you know what a blessing it was for me and my family.  I truly enjoyed my first semester at FSU.  This experience would not have been possible for me without scholarships such as this.  Thank you again.”

— Alexis Wilt

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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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Hannah SolemWith a smile that radiates with positive energy, ThanksUSA scholarship recipient Hannah Solem can brighten any day. As a Speech Communications major at Liberty University, Hannah’s goal is to become the voice of advocacy for orphans.

Now in her junior year of studies, Hannah has received consecutive ThanksUSA scholarships totaling $9,000. This year, the Army dependent was awarded a $3,000 Jackson Casey Fund/ThanksUSA Scholarship. Since Hannah is responsible for financing her own education, she is especially grateful for the continued aid provided by ThanksUSA supporters.

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“I am aware that much will be required of those who have been given much.  Having been entrusted with this scholarship, it is my ambition to use my gifts to give back to others.”

Hannah is certainly deserving of your support. She has an impeccable academic record and is eager to encourage others to commit their time to volunteerism. During the summer, Hannah works with high school aged volunteers at the Officers’ Christian Fellowship retreat, White Sulfur Springs Conference Center. During the academic year, she serves as a Student Leader for her residence hall where she leads group studies and offers one on one counseling to freshman students.

Not only have these roles provided guidance to others, they have also given Hannah valuable logistics and planning experience while allowing her to develop a comforting style of communication. She has such a sincere personality, that one instantly feels at ease speaking with her.

Hannah’s academic goals began to take root during a trip to China with Show Hope ministries. In 2008, she visited orphanages in Luoyang and Beijing where she cared for disabled orphans. The experience inspired her to use her talents and energy to help families navigate the adoption process. Hannah can see herself using her education and knowledge as a public relations specialist for adoption agencies. For now, she is concentrating on understanding the needs of children in orphan care and recently hosted a seminar on their nutritional needs.

When asked about her own family, Hannah praises her parents, Helen and LTC Greg Solem, USA, for being exceptional role models to herself and her four brothers. She describes her mother as a humble spirit and her father as a dedicated man. Hannah says that her family always puts the Lord first and feel blessed to have each other.

Ultimately, Hannah hopes that her education will lead to a career that will unite children with loving parents like her own. Whether you are able to celebrate in person or in spirit this year, ThanksUSA wishes our supporters and military families a very happy holiday season. We encourage you to continue your support of our mission by making your tax-deductible contribution today.

“Thank you for your contribution to military personnel and their families. Your generosity is sincerely appreciated. With a grateful heart, I will joyfully represent the Jackson Casey Fund and ThanksUSA scholarship.”

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Isaias Joshua Suarez wants to help the progression of society through scientific research. The recipient of a $3,000 ESA Foundation/ThanksUSA Scholarship, he has entered Washington University in St. Louis where he intends to pursue majors in both Chemistry and Computer Science. Isaias explains, “The experiments carried out with the Large Hadron Collider, solid state drives in computers, and GPS technology are all modern advancements made possible through the knowledge and passion of scientific researchers. I want to be part of innovations of these types, contributing towards the progress of society by improving people’s lives. With hard work and dedication, I will be able to enter the workforce and academia allowing me to develop new systems and technologies that will benefit my community.”

Though he was Valedictorian of his high school class, Isaias wanted to prepare for the challenges of college.  He completed the Summer Academic Program at WUSTL, earning college credits while familiarizing himself with the campus. In addition to his academics, he has qualified as a radio host for the campus station, KWUR, and volunteers through music based community service. Isaias reports that his current schedule is, “a bit hectic, but manageable.”

To keep him grounded and focused during the most hectic times, Isaias reminds himself of his family values. “I learned from my parents the importance of working at my full potential. My ethics, involvements and the desire to succeed are results of my Asian American heritage, a heritage that is instilled so deeply into me that I cannot imagine what type of person I would be without it. The United States is a place that is known for being the home of immigrants from many different countries. My parents are immigrants from the Philippines. They came to this country in search of greater opportunities that they could not find back in the Philippines. As the child of immigrants, being an Asian American is an integral part of who I am and a heavy influence on my future plans.”

Isaias’s parents, HMCS (SW) Isaias C. Suarez III, USN (Ret), and Cynthia Suarez have certainly done a fine job in raising their children. A few years ago, son Emmanuel Suarez received ThanksUSA scholarships totaling $4,000. In 2011, Emmanuel graduated Magna Sum Laude from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University with degrees in Chemical Engineering and Mathematics.

ThanksUSA is proud to support our military families and encourages you to support our mission this holiday season by making your tax-deductible contribution today. Thanks to the generosity of sponsors like the ESA Foundation and individuals like you, ThanksUSA awarded over 300 scholarships for the 2012-2013 academic year. Help us reach our goal of awarding 500 scholarships in 2013. Your donation will make a difference to students like Isaias:

“It is thanks to the ESA Foundation/ThanksUSA Scholarship that I will be able to pursue my dream to become a researcher. To me, research is a way to give back to the community through science; a way to help out society. Without scholarships like this, the opportunity to attend such a prestigious university would not have been possible. Thank you very much for your generosity.”

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Our sincerest thanks to the Berkeley Hills Country Club in Duluth, Georgia, for raising their racquets in support of Tennis Thanks the Troops! The club hosted a tennis mixer/round robin and silent auction raising $2,500 for ThanksUSA scholarships! We encourage all USPTA pros to register their club as an official Tennis Thanks the Troops host facility. If you’re an avid player or fan, be sure to tell your club’s pro or director about Tennis Thanks the Troops today. The club raising the most money for Tennis Thanks the Troops will be able to send their pro and one guest to New York for the US Open, on August 30, 2013.

The Atlanta Lawn Tennis Association (ALTA) Net News magazine featured the Berkeley Hills event in their September/October 2012 edition:

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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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We continue to celebrate the success of the Hills Bros. Homefront Heroes campaign by introducing this week’s featured scholar, Air Force National Guard dependent, Monica Clevenger. Monica received a $3,000 Hills Bros. Homefront Heroes/ThanksUSA Scholarship to continue her Education studies at Malone University.

Both of Monica’s parents have served with the Air Force National Guard her entire life. “They are the most encouraging, loving, and inspirational people that I know. I look up to them and hope to make them proud with everything that I do,” she says.

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Initially, Monica had planned to join the military but was not qualified due to medical conditions. She explains, “Since I can’t join the military and serve my country, I’ve decided to dedicate my life to serving the Lord and others.” She enrolled in Malone University as an Education major and joined service organizations and clubs so that she could serve the local community.

Monica makes a point of learning important lessons from each of her service opportunities. “Student Senate,” she explains, “showed me how to be a better leader. Coaching volleyball taught me patience and understanding. Volunteering with an after school program for underprivileged children taught me not to take any aspect of my life for granted.“ Monica is also very interested in missionary work and plans to make a mission trip to a third-world country within the next two years.

As a future educator, Monica’s goal is to teach science and math at the middle school level, preferably in an inner city school setting or on a military installation. She credits her own primary school teachers with sparking her interest in education and advises, “Stay dedicated to your studies and always do your best. Never give up on yourself. Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something.”

Monica’s own dedication to her studies is evident. She has an exemplary GPA and continues to seek out new ways to serve her community. Monica explains that she chose Malone University because it offered her spiritual opportunities. “Now,” she says, “I see the potential that I have not only as a student but also as an educator and witness for God.”

The ThanksUSA team looks forward to seeing Monica fulfill her potential and we conclude this week’s Scholarship News blog with a heartfelt message from Monica:

“Once again, I would just like to say how thankful I am for the generosity of ThanksUSA and Hills Bros. for helping students like me achieve their dreams. To all military members and their families I would like to say thank you. Thank you for your sacrifices and your service to making this country the greatest nation in the world!”

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It’s not too late to get your tickets for the 2nd Annual Danbury AHEPA Cigar Night Fundraiser! The Danbury, Connecticut, chapter of AHEPA will host the  cigar fundraiser on Thursday, October 4th, at The Amber Room Colonnade. Tickets are $110 per person and proceeds will once again benefit ThanksUSA’s mission to provide scholarships to the dependent children and spouses of our military personnel. Admission includes a pack of assorted Rocky Patel Cigars, top shelf open bar, assorted cheeses and greek appetizers, hot hors d’oeuvres, carving station with prime rib and pork, salad station, grilled vegetables, french fry bar, coffee and dessert. Smoking is segregated to a beautiful, outdoor, covered patio, so non-smokers will be comfortable attending as well.

This year’s AHEPA Cigar Night will feature a very special guest speaker, Ed Silverman. Mr. Silverman is a distinguished broadcast journalist, documentarian, and accomplished author. The 11 time Emmy award winner covered some of America’s most historical events during the Golden Age of radio and television. He was the first on the air for ABC TV during the JFK assassination, covered the trial of Jack Ruby, and even broadcast the America’s Cup Race from the Goodyear Blimp.

With a 50+ year career, Mr. Silverman has some wonderful stories to share! Don’t miss your opportunity to meet this witness to history, enjoy fine cigars, delicious food, and friendly networking, all while raising funds for ThanksUSA.

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Welcome back to Scholarship News! Now that ThanksUSA scholarship recipients are adjusted to campus life and have established their routines, I will post this weekly feature to introduce supporters to some of our outstanding scholars. Thanks to the generosity of our corporate sponsors, individual supporters, and fundraising campaigns, ThanksUSA was able to award over 300 scholarships for the 2012-2013 academic year!

For the first installment of 2012-13, I am honored to introduce Army dependent Danielle Lomax. Danielle received a $3,000 Folds of Honor Foundation/ThanksUSA Scholarship to continue her Public Relations and Sports Management studies at Howard University. This week, the “young urban professional with a passion for public relations, community relations, and sports management,” shares some her recent academic accomplishments and lets her military pride shine.

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Danielle was just a freshman in high school when her father, LTC Dwight Lomax, USA (Ret), deployed to Afghanistan. She recounts, “It was definitely one of the hardest experiences that I have ever had to endure. I spent an entire year cringing every time the telephone or doorbell rang. I am so grateful that my father was able to return to the U.S. safely. Some families haven’t been as fortunate as mine.”

Though he retired from the Army a few years ago, LTC Lomax’s dedication to military service continues. Dedicated to creating future leaders through education, he spearheaded the first JROTC class at Lake Braddock Secondary in Burke, Virginia.

Danielle’s pride in her father and his Army career are evident. When asked about being raised in the military, Danielle said, “My dad’s service in the US Army has awarded him with the opportunity to travel the world and meet a plethora of influential people including my amazing mother (who has also served in the US Army). He is the first member of his family to not only serve in the military but to also receive a college diploma.”

Grateful for her own opportunity to attend college, Danielle knew the importance of pursuing the right major. Since childhood, she had been interested in sports. She played soccer, learned tae kwon do, and became a cheerleader. Though her participation in multiple sports was rewarding, Danielle realized that she was much more interested in what was going on “behind the scenes.” She soon discovered that an academic focus in the field of sports management would be the perfect fit.

Currently in her junior year at Howard, Danielle has already gained valuable experience in preparation for a successful career. Last year, she served as the Athletics Coordinator for the Howard University Student Association. The role gave her the opportunity to “market” Howard’s sports program by hosting events and programs that eliminated the gap between student-athletes and the rest of the student body.

Danielle also interned with the Sports Programming department at Sirius XM. She reports, “Interning with Sirius XM provided my first glimpse of the world of sports business.” She also began a blog, American Sports Addiction (click to visit), which she explains, “exposes Internet readers to (sports) issues that don’t usually make headline news.”

Many sports enthusiasts would be envious of Danielle’s recent study abroad in London during the 2012 Summer Olympics. “Studying abroad during the Summer Olympics introduced me to the global sports market. It definitely broadened my view of the sports industry and solidified my decision of entering the sports marketing industry. Sports are one of the few commonalities that connect people from every corner of the globe,” she says.

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Broadening her education through such experiences has encouraged Danielle to consider employment outside of the United States. She explains, “As we move toward a more globalized economy, we must continue to be open to working with other cultures in foreign environments.”

Danielle will certainly be entering a more competitive job market if she seeks international employment. She has already proven herself to be a dedicated student and has made time to participate in campus organizations such as the Student Association, Honors Program, Alpha Kappa Psi professional business fraternity, Public Relations Student Society of America, and Management Leadership for Tomorrow.

Danielle maintains a balance between academics, organizational participation, and her social life through strict time management. She advises, “Whether you’re using a tablet, smart phone, laptop or an old school planner, use it to plan your day. I live by a planner. My day is programmed and synchronized from the minute that I wake up. Organization is key.”

Danielle’s discipline, work ethic, and self-motivation have helped her become the successful, confident scholar that she is today. The ThanksUSA team congratulates Danielle on receipt of her Folds of Honor Foundation/ThanksUSA Scholarship and we encourage you to continue your support of military dependents like her.

“I am very grateful for organizations such as ThanksUSA. It’s no secret that the cost of a attaining an education increases each year. As a college junior in the Nation’s Capitol, I am often faced with financial hardships. The Folds of Honor Foundation/ThanksUSA Scholarship will help pay for my tuition for the fall semester.” – Danielle Lomax

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Our friends at Keller Williams Realty in McLean are hosting a Military Appreciation Monday in support of ThanksUSA. Join fellow supporters on Monday, September 10th, to raise funds for ThanksUSA’s scholarship program while dining at Pulcinella’s Restaurant. Dinner begins at 6:30 and reservations are required (see flyer below).

In the mood for some great Italian food but can’t stay? Order take-out and take a copy of the flyer with you – Pulcinella’s will make a contribution. For additional information or to make your reservation, please contact Marie Barresi (marieunderstands@kw.com) or Dorothy Friedlander (Dorothy@dorothyfriedlander.com):

Sept 2012 Military Appreciation Dinner (printable)

 

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Though a very well-rounded individual, Air Force dependent Jacob Humerick has one true passion – music. Preparing for his final year of Music Education studies at Western Connecticut State University, Jacob is eager to begin a career inspiring the next generation of talented musicians. With an instrumental focus on trumpet, Jacob explains, “Music is a universal language that breaks down social barriers.  I believe that it is very important to teach music, and that is why I want to become a music educator.”

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Anyone who has school-aged children is acutely aware of the drastic budget cuts that have affected our public schools in recent years. As Jacob prepares for a career as an educator, he reflects on the importance of continuing music education in our schools saying, “There are so many interests that students need to be exposed to in order to become a well-rounded citizens.  Studies have shown a strong relationship of music participation to success in other areas such as science and mathematics.”

Jacob’s own academic success certainly reflects this correlation. In addition to the typical college coursework, he has frequent trumpet rehearsals and performances and has spent much of the past year shadowing music educators to develop his own teaching style; all while maintaining a near perfect GPA. Jacob acknowledges that his family has been a huge factor in his success by nurturing his passion since an early age. The middle son of Lieutenant Colonel Douglas Humerick (USAF, RET) and Lisa Humerick, Jacob grew up in the typical military environment…relocating every two years, making new friends, and attending a new school. Over the years, music remained a constant in his life. No matter where the Air Force sent the Humericks, Jacob was able to continue his music through participation in church ensembles and school bands. When asked what advice her has for younger military dependents, Jacob quotes advice that he received from a pastor, “Bloom where you’re planted.”

Last week, Jacob and his family joined ThanksUSA friends and supporters to celebrate our mission during the Treasure Our Troops Gala. During the event, Senator Joseph Lieberman was presented with the ThanksUSA Military Families Award, recognizing his dedication and leadership to our nation. In Senator Lieberman’s honor, Jacob was awarded the 2012 Senator Joseph Lieberman/ThanksUSA Scholarship in the amount of $3,000.

As mentioned earlier, Jacob is one of three young Humerick men. His older brother, Zachary, received ThanksUSA scholarships totaling $5,000 to pursue his degree at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. In 2010, Zachary earned his B.S. in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Physics and is currently pursuing his M.S. in Chemical Engineering. Upon graduation, Zachary plans to pursue a career in alternative energy. Younger brother, Matthew, is preparing for his sophomore year of studies at Western New England University, where he is pursuing a degree in Business and Sports Management.

Jacob adds, “Any scholarship reduces the cost of education significantly which is important for families, such as mine, with multiple children pursuing higher education. ThanksUSA recognizes the military dependents and the silent sacrifice they make as their father or mother…or sometimes both parents…serve our country whether they are deployed to a hostile area or at home protecting us. ThanksUSA knows the stress that military places on families and provides financial aid because they care about the home. The benefactors to ThanksUSA may not fully understand how significant their donations are to students like me. I assure you that the recipients appreciate all of the help and support you provide.

It is because of our generous supporters that ThanksUSA is able to continue our mission of providing scholarships to the children and spouses of our military personnel. In a few short weeks, recipients of 2012-2013 ThanksUSA scholarship will be notified and we’ll begin sharing their stories here on the Scholarship News blog. Thank you for your continued support!

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The Whitmore family had a lot to celebrate recently as sisters Victoria (Tori) and Katherine (Katie) each graduated with honors from Hardin-Simmons University. The graduation event was indeed a family affair, with their father, Air Force Chaplain Eric Whitmore (Capt.), delivering the opening prayer at the commencement ceremony. Thanks to generous sponsors like the ESA Foundation and Blavatnik Family Foundation, the duo received $15,000 in ThanksUSA Scholarships over the past four years. Although the sisters are now preparing to pursue different paths, their altruistic natures still shines through:

Victoria Whitmore 

Receiving $6,000 in ThanksUSA scholarships helped Tori earn her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. After interning with the Department of Veterans Affairs last summer, Tori knew that she had found her calling. Having recently applied for a nursing position at the VA Medical Center in Charleston, SC, Tori will train with other new nurses to solidify her nursing assessments and skills. Eventually, she would like to work in long-term/hospice care or as a rehabilitation nurse. Tori adds, “I believe a nurse’s responsibility is to facilitate the physical, emotional, psychological, and even spiritual health of their patients. In these areas of healthcare, I have a greater opportunity to assist with all types of healing so that the individual and their families can come to a more holistic sense of wellbeing.”

Katherine Whitmore

Katie received $9,000 in ThanksUSA scholarships and earned her Bachelor of Behavioral Science degree. When she began college, Katie envisioned a career as a Foreign Service Officer traveling the world and exchanging ideas with different cultures. The further she delved into her political science studies, the more she realized that her true desire was to bring humanitarian aid to those in need. Katie now believes that her future lies with non-government organizations. At present, she is preparing for a six month mission with the Experience Mission organization that will take her from a Navajo reservation in Arizona to South Africa, Mozambique, and Lesotho. Katie is confident that her education will allow her to better understand the needs of these communities and bring education, healthcare, and sustainability to their lives.

ThanksUSA is honored to support such dedicated and selfless scholars. We wish these young ladies all the best and look forward to bringing you updates on both Tori’s career and Katie’s mission. Each and every year, ThanksUSA receives thousands of scholarship applications from military spouses and dependents seeking to better their lives through education. We receive updates from ThanksUSA scholars who are doing exactly what Tori and Katie are doing – paying it forward. Click here to make your tax-deductible donation today…it will make a difference!

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Ying Wang’s family could not be prouder…with the assistance of $6,000 in ThanksUSA scholarships, the Army dependent graduated Magnum Cum Laude from Emerson College with her Marketing Communications degree. During her final two years at Emerson, Ying received consecutive $3,000 ThanksUSA scholarships sponsored by Intelligent Decisions Inc. and the Blavatnik Family Foundation.

With a desire to serve her country, Ying recently commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Army. Remaining dedicated to continuing her education, Ying will be attending law school while serving as a platoon leader for the Army Reserves 743rd Transportation Unit. Congratulations Lt. Wang! We look forward to updates on your continuing education and service to our nation.

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Thanks to generous sponsors Lockheed Martin, ESA Foundation, and The Jenzabar Foundation, Air Force dependent Ashtin Jeney received $12,000 in ThanksUSA Scholarships to pursue her Biology/Pre-Med studies at Carroll College. Now that she has completed her undergraduate studies, Ashtin is busy applying to medical schools throughout the United States. In a few weeks, Ashtin will travel to Graz, Austria, for a two-month hospital internship. When she returns to the states, she hopes to intern with either the Senate Finance Committee or the Senate Health Committee.

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Ashtin may look familiar to regular Scholarship News readers…she has graciously volunteered for several ThanksUSA outreach opportunities over the past four years, meeting and speaking with sponsors, sharing her academic goals with supporters, and even appearing in a ThanksUSA video – thanks Ashtin!!

ThanksUSA is proud to support academic achievers like Ashtin and we are always happy to share their stories with you. Be sure to check back next week for another 2012 graduate feature.

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In the past two years, Army dependent Devon Cooley has received $6,000 in ThanksUSA Scholarships, sponsored by Goldman Sachs Gives and LM&O Advertising. On Friday, May 4th, Devon graduated from the Michigan State University College of Communication Arts and Sciences with High Honors and was recognized for having the highest GPA in her degree program.

Devon is looking forward to beginning her training with Teach For America in Atlanta, GA. This Fall, she will begin her journey as a Secondary English teacher in the Greater New Orleans, LA. Devon’s future plans include graduate school and traveling. Devon was featured in a Scholarship News blog earlier this Spring and you can read more about her plans and great advice to new undergrads here. The ThanksUSA team congratulates Devon on her academic accomplishments and we wish her all the best with her teaching career!

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Our congratulations to Army dependent and ThanksUSA scholar, Christine Nussio, on earning her B.A. History degree from Christendom College! Since beginning her studies in 2008, Christine received $9,000 in ThanksUSA Scholarships, a portion of which were sponsored by the Blavatnik Family Foundation and ESA Foundation.

Though he is currently serving in Afghanistan, Christine’s father, Colonel Rick Nussio, U.S. Army, wanted Christine to know that he’d always be there for her. He sent her a photo of himself, she says, “In case I needed him.” As her name was announced, Christine proudly walked across the stage, photo in hand.

Christine will be spending the summer with her mother and five sisters anxiously waiting,  “to welcome home our hero from this year-long tour in July.” Next, she will begin preparations for graduate school. Christine will be attending Catholic University of America to earn her Master’s degree in Secondary Education, with a concentration in Social Studies.

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She explains, “This is in preparation for a career teaching history at the high school level. Though it took some time to discover, I realized that teaching high school history was the perfect way to combine my love for history and desire to spend my life helping form and educate the youth of tomorrow. My experiences as an apprentice teacher as part of Christendom College’s Teaching Practicum made me more eager than ever to begin this work. Participation in this program was just one of the many gifts I received while at Christendom, and I must extend my heartfelt thanks to ThanksUSA for helping to make this possible.”

She continues, “Without you I could never have accomplished all that I did in college: leadership and volunteer experience, friendships with peers and professors, rewarding studies, a Summa Cum Laude diploma, a semester study abroad, and formative opportunities preparing me for the career path of my choice. Thank you!”

ThanksUSA is honored to have been a part of Christine’s undergraduate experience. We have watched her grow from an eager high school senior to a confident scholar ready to educate and inspire the next generation. Congratulations, again, Christine!

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This week, I am honored to present Air Force dependent and ThanksUSA scholar, Kara Davis. During her undergraduate studies, Kara received a total of $9,000 in ThanksUSA Scholarships, including those sponsored by ESA Foundation and The Venetian and Palazzo Las Vegas. On May 5th, Kara graduated Cum Laude from Eastern Illinois University with her Bachelor of Science degree in Speech-Language Pathology. Dedicated to continuing her education, Kara is eager to begin graduate studies at EIU in just a few weeks. I encourage you to join ThanksUSA in congratulating Kara on her academic achievements and in wishing her continued success as a graduate student!

Congratulations Kara!!

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