Posts Tagged ‘spouse’

With the assistance of a $3,000 Blavatnik Family Foundation/ThanksUSA Scholarship, Faith  Hauversburk is pursuing double majors in economics and philosophy at John Hopkins University. With her husband deployed to South Korea, the newlywed Air Force spouse has remained committed to her studies at JHU knowing that her education will lead to a better future for her family.

Faith has always held mathematical interests and knew that she would enjoy working in the field of finance. She explains that she originally planned to major in applied mathematics because, “I felt it was a more flexible and powerful major, one which would better enable me to get a job.”

But Faith soon realized that she was learning most formulations and theories on her own. To optimize her college experience, she changed her major to economics and is quite satisfied with the results. “I felt economics would be more interesting, especially since I would better be able to understand the current economic situation, while also incorporating financial mathematics,” she adds.

Although Faith is dedicated to pursuing her economics degree to prepare for a future career, she also possesses a strong spiritual desire to study philosophy. She explains, “I think that the most important thing in life is to learn how best to live, and one gains this through self-understanding and through understanding of the world. Philosophy, or love of wisdom, is about understanding yourself and the world in a deeper, insightful way.”

To compliment her studies, Faith attends meetings of the campus philosophy group, Prometheus, and is involved in a Christian apologetics group. Faith explains, “We seek to defend the Christian faith with rationality.” She also volunteers to prepare and serve meals for area residents in need.

Faith is committed to graduating from JHU with honors and two undergraduate degrees. She is maintaining an impressive GPA and is gradually extending her campus involvement. Finances are always a concern for the Hauversburks and Faith explains, “Receiving the Blavatnik Family Foundation/ThanksUSA Scholarship has allowed me to feel more relaxed, to feel less stressful. School is stressful enough on its own! With my scholarship, I can shift my worries from finances and focus my attention on schoolwork instead.”

The sacrifices of military families are often difficult for civilians to understand or to relate to. Since Faith and her husband, Senior Airman Daniel Hauversburk, Jr, U.S. Air Force, are thousands of miles away from each other, I asked Faith to share a little about that experience.

Daniel and Faith Hauversburk, Jeju Island


“My husband and I, despite having only been married for a year, are very used to being apart, even prior to our marriage. The longest we have been together day by day is about a month. Because of this, I think it is easier on us to deal with the distance, especially because we are both independent people who have dreams and goals of our own.

We support each other by encouraging each other, by respecting and being understanding of each other when we cannot give each other much time, and by knowing that our time apart will mean a better life for us in the future. Above all, we remain best friends, and treat each other well.”



Thank you, Faith, for sharing with our Scholarship News readers. The ThanksUSA team is proud to be a part of Faith’s educational journey. We encourage all college-bound military spouses and dependent children to apply for the 2012 ThanksUSA Scholarships. Applications will be accepted from April 1, 2012, through May 15, 2012. You can sign up for an email reminder here and if you have any questions, please leave a comment or contact me directly at sherrykoch@thanksusa.org.

We close this week’s blog with a few words from Faith thanking the Blavatnik Family Foundation for their support of ThanksUSA:

“As a selected recipient, I am extremely grateful for the support towards my education. I, and many others, appreciate what you do for military dependents worldwide. Thank you for all that you do. You are giving me the chance to live out the American dream.”

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This week I am happy to introduce Beatriz Giraldo, a young Army spouse and mother of three who has received consecutive Folds of Honor Foundation/ThanksUSA Scholarships totaling $6000. Beatriz is currently in her sophomore year of military management and acquisition studies at American Military University and is looking forward to a career assisting the military community.



Beatriz is very familiar with the United States Army and her military pride is evident. Her father is a retired soldier and her husband, SGT Juan Giraldo, has served in the U.S. Army for almost ten years. She has first hand knowledge of the sacrifices military families make everyday to ensure that their soldier performs at his or her best.

“It is not the same to watch or hear about soldiers getting deployed as it to experience it in real life,” says Beatriz. “The emptiness a person feels the moment the plane takes off, taking with it the people who you love to a far and dangerous country can be devastating. On the bright side, as a result of deployments, strong bonds are built and people develop more resilience. My family and I have made numerous sacrifices because we are a military family. However, at the end of the day I am proud and thankful to be part of an organization that is dedicated to sacrificing so much to protect and create a better world for people worldwide.”

Though most of us, certainly ThanksUSA supporters, appreciate and understand the sacrifices of our military families, some employers are not so understanding. Like many military spouses, Beatriz has suffered the scorn of employers for taking too many personal days. These “personal days” were actually the result of being in at a new duty station with no extended family nearby, a deployed husband, and three sick children to tend to.

Because of experiences like this, Beatriz hopes that her degree will lead to a career with a military-friendly atmosphere. Ideally, she will secure a position with the Department of Defense or another military supportive organization. “My goal is to ensure that regulations, programs, and benefits are in place and implemented so that the company that I work for can be considered one of the top military-friendly companies to work for,” adds Beatriz.

Though the education of our ThanksUSA scholars is the focus of our blog, Beatriz also has some advice for those families who are supporting their injured service members. In 2009, SGT Giraldo sustained injuries during combat in Iraq. His courageous actions that day earned Sgt Giraldo a Purple Heart. “I can write a whole novel about how proud I am of my husband,” says Beatriz.

Beatriz has recently begun to accompany Juan as he seeks treatment for TBI and PTSD. She advises spouses to attend as many medical appointments and therapy sessions as possible.

“By attending these meetings, I have gotten a better understanding of what it is that my husband has gone through. Knowing such things has enabled me to be more understanding and also to know what I need to do or change to provide better support for my husband. Also, last week when one of the doctors was interviewing my husband, I would pitch in information that my husband was leaving out because of his lack of memory. At the end of the interview the doctor mentioned that he wished that wives accompanied their husbands more often because they were able to get a better understanding of everything that was going on, and in return could provide better help for the soldier.

Another piece of advice that I have is to remember that even though our spouses are injured, they are still the same people we fell in love with. With dedication, perseverance, and more than anything love, there is no reason why other spouses can’t grow old with their spouses, which is what I intend to do.”

Beatriz, the ThanksUSA team wishes you and Juan a very long, healthy, happy life together…may your Military Pride continue to shine through as you earn your degree and begin a career supporting our men and women in uniform! We leave you with a few words of thanks from Beatriz:

“I want to thank ThanksUSA and the Folds of Honor Foundation for awarding me two scholarships. In addition, I want to thank these organizations for having such programs available for military spouses. As many people know, the monthly income of a military family does not always go very far. However, thanks to organizations like ThanksUSA and the Folds of Honor Foundation, spouses like me nationwide are able to pursue their educational dreams. The sense of accomplishment and pride that I feel when my kids see me doing homework and realize the importance of college goes beyond anything words can describe.”

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As a child, Whitney Benevides had amazing teachers who offered both inspiration and direction. Now, in her senior year of Elementary Education studies at the University of South Carolina Upstate, Whitney is looking forward to being an amazing teacher herself. To complete her studies, Whitney was awarded a $3000 EMC Corp/Senator Ted Stevens Memorial Scholarship through ThanksUSA.

Whitney, Joey, and Ava Benevides

Whitney has always had a desire to help children and a trip to Africa with the Youth With A Mission organization helped shape her educational goals. Whitney worked closely with children left orphaned by the AIDS epidemic. Getting to know the children opened her heart and her mind. She realized that teaching young children was what she was meant to do. “It was heartbreaking to leave children who faced such loss. Photos just can’t convey what they live with,” reports Whitney.

Upon earning her BA, Whitney plans to work in the public school system. She has developed an understanding of the different learning styles of children and plans to use appropriate strategies to reach every child. Whitney explains, “What’s most important is the delivery of education. We need to move away from the lectures and make learning more interactive, more hands on, for students.”

Whitney believes that working within the public school system will allow her to help children who may need the most educational assistance. “My main goal is for each of my students to have the opportunity to live their dreams.  I have the opportunity to make a difference in children’s lives and I will not take this privilege lightly,” says Whitney.

Although Whitney is a very outgoing and dedicated student, she is facing one of the most challenging times for a military spouse – the deployment of her husband, Airman First Class Joseph Benevides, United States Air Force.

Like most military spouses, Whitney is surviving deployment by keeping busy. She regularly volunteers with Vive Church and is mentoring a fellow education major. She has also put her studies to good use by working with struggling readers through Target Read and volunteering with Junior Achievement…all while maintaining a perfect GPA! She is also caregiver to Ava, the puppy that Joey gave her as a deployment companion.

The ThanksUSA team shares Whitney’s belief that every student deserves a great education and we are eager to see her impact the lives of students. In closing, Whitney shares her appreciation to our supporters:

“The EMC Corp/Senator Ted Stevens Memorial Scholarship through ThanksUSA has lifted both a financial burden and my spirits. As a rising educator, having the support of my community is essential for my effectiveness in the classroom. I am eternally grateful for the generosity shown to me through this scholarship. Thanks to your support, in less than a year I will obtain my teaching degree and begin a new journey of transforming the lives of students.”

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For the third consecutive year, the Northern Virginia Community College Educational Foundation and NVCC’s Student Financial Office has joined ThanksUSA in awarding the $4000 Linda J. Romero/ThanksUSA Scholarship.

I’m very pleased to introduce the 2011/2012 Linda J. Romero/ThanksUSA Scholarship recipient, Susann Krawczak. With detail-oriented focus, Susann is pursuing her Associates of Applied Science in Engineering Technology with a Drafting Specialization.

Married to LTC Douglas Krawczak, U.S. Army, Susann has traveled the world in support of her husband’s career. After eighteen years as a stay-at-home mom to the couple’s three boys, Susann is very eager to reenter the workforce.

The Krawczak Family (Douglas, Susann, William, Martin, & Andreas)

Douglas and Susann’s sons, William (18), Martin (16), and Andreas (10), were quite surprised when Susann decided to return to school. Susann reports, “They only knew me as ‘mom’ and never imagined that I’d actually want to work outside of the home.”

Not only did Susann want to work outside the home, she was already planning for a high-demand, portable career that would give her job stability. Understanding that military equipment and technologies need to be updated constantly, Susann knew that engineering technology was the career for her.

Since beginning her studies at NVCC last summer, Susann has maintained a perfect GPA. She credits her success with a meticulous eye for detail and good communication skills. Susann explained that producing a finished product is very time-consuming and requires detailed back-and-forth discussion between the technologist and the engineer. The technologist must research materials, determine specifications, and refine ideas to accomplish a finished project. She is eager for the opportunity  to work closely with engineers to turn design concepts into real-world objects. Upon graduation, Susann hopes to use her strengths as a draftsman to work as a designer refining projects in support of the military.

The ThanksUSA team thanks NVCC for their continued support. Certainly, Susann is a deserving and dedicated student who serves as a great representation of ThanksUSA scholars. Susann, we wish you continued academic success and look forward to hearing about your subsequent career.

In closing, a few words from Susann:

“I was extremely pleased to hear that I received the ThanksUSA Scholarship. This scholarship has motivated me to continue my work towards a degree in Engineering Technology. After being out of the work force for some years and relocating to different locations in the U.S. and Europe every few years, it has been difficult to maintain my engineering technology skills.

Initially, I chose to concentrate on raising my three sons. Returning to school full-time has been a real adjustment and challenge. I plan to complete my degree in 2013 and this scholarship really helps. I am very thankful for being chosen as a recipient of this scholarship and look forward to joining the workforce once again.”

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Travis Clark


Travis Clark has ambitions of appearing in a Broadway musical or a major motion pictures. This past week, with the assistance of a $3000 Folds of Honor/ThanksUSA Scholarship, Travis enthusiastically began his theatre studies at Augustana College.

The son of MSGT Michael Clark (USAF, RET) and Karline Clark, Travis had a typical military childhood including moves between duty stations. Travis says, “Military children quickly realize that whether they want to or not, they will have to meet, interact, and depend on new people in new places.” As an adult, Travis looks back at military life and appreciates all of the once “new people” who became close friends.



Travis first became interested in theatre during middle school. Prompted by encouragement from his parents, Travis decided to join the drama club of his middle school. He quickly found friends with similar interests and loved learning how to assemble sets, direct lighting, and supervise wardrobe. When Travis began acting, his behind-the-scenes knowledge served him well.

Travis notes that acting can be a genuine confidence booster. Of course he likes the recognition he receives from a good performance, but says that the recognition is also humbling. He feels that his theatre background has given him a better grasp of emotions which allows him to make more genuine connections with people.

In addition to his acting talents, Travis is also an accomplished musician and singer and plans to carry a minor in music. He envisions a career beginning with community theatres and traveling bands or choirs and evolving from there. Though his ultimate career goal is that of a professional actor, he is also realistic and knows that a “fall-back” career is a necessity of the industry. Influenced primarily by his high school drama teacher, Travis is considering a double major in education and says that he can definitely see himself as a drama teacher in the future.

If he adds an education major to his undergraduate studies, Travis doesn’t have far to look for guidance. His mother, Karline, received a $4400 ThanksUSA Scholarship in 2006 to earn her teaching credentials from Black Hills State University. For the past five years, Karline has taught business, computer technology, and yearbook classes at Douglas High School and recently earned her graduate degree in education.

The ThanksUSA team wishes both Travis and Karline continued success and we leave readers with messages from each:

“Thanks USA has helped me and my family with dreams of continuing our education and pursing our dreams. Thank you so much for all of your support.”  – Karline Clark

“I just want to say how great it is for ThanksUSA and Folds of Honor to help both my mother and me with our financial concerns and to help us attain a higher knowledge and learning experience. Thanks ThanksUSA, and Thanks Folds of Honor.”  Travis Clark

Travis and Karline Clark

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Applications for the 2011 ThanksUSA Scholarship Program Now Open!

Samuel McKearn - future ThanksUSA Scholarship applicant

We encourage all military dependent children and spouses to apply for the 2011/2012 ThanksUSA Scholarship Program. All potential applicants should start at our overview page to verify eligibility and the application process. Of note this year:

Kaplan University is proud to offer a full undergraduate scholarship through ThanksUSA for an eligible military spouse. In addition, Educational Support Scholarships, which provide for reduced tuition of up to 51 percent, are also available to eligible military spouses. Click here for complete details including eligibility and other terms and conditions.

Northern Virginia Community College Educational Foundation and NVCC‘s Student Financial Aid Office are joining ThanksUSA once again this year to offer the Linda J. Romeo/ThanksUSA scholarship. This $4,000 scholarship will be awarded to a female military spouse residing in the National Capital Region attending Northern Virginia Community College. Interested applicants must first submit a completed ThanksUSA scholarship application. If approved for ThanksUSA scholarship funds, applicants will be asked to complete a supplemental NVCC scholarship application.

So, what’s with the adorable baby picture? Mainly, to get your attention…this is Samuel McKearn, a future ThanksUSA scholarship applicant. His mother, Christie, received a $3000 ThanksUSA Scholarship for the 2010/2011 academic year and she is in the process of applying for next year’s scholarship. Remember, you must apply for a ThanksUSA Scholarship every year. before you “lock and submit” your application, please review it carefully and make sure that all of your required information and documentation is included and uploaded. All applications must be submitted by May 15th.

If you have any questions about the application process or would like to share the press release with your command, family service group, spouses club, etc, please contact me at sherrykoch@thanksusa.org.

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