Posts Tagged ‘ThanksUSA Scholarship’

Navy dependent Sarah Berg was awarded a $3,000 Stephen Curry/ThanksUSA scholarship for her first year of studies at the University of California: Davis. Although Sarah intends to major in Animal Biology, she will explore a variety of inter-related studies that will prepare her for future humanitarian endeavors.

“My goal in life is to go to third world countries and establish systems customized to the environment of the country so that the people can use aquaculture, the raising of aquatic animals for food, and agriculture in order to establish a sustainable source of nutrition. While feeding peoples’ stomachs, I also intend to nourish their souls through sharing with them the hope I have in the Lord.”

Sarah Berg

Sarah Berg petting one of the UC Davis milk cows that live behind her dorm. Sarah explained that this gentle Jersey was on a 60-day rotation of not producing milk.

Sarah Berg petting one of the UC Davis milk cows that live behind her dorm. Sarah explained that this gentle Jersey was on a 60-day rotation of not producing milk.
When she arrived on campus, Sarah began filling her free time by joining organizations that compliment her studies while helping the local community and campus. She joined the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, the Sigma Alpha Professional Agricultural Sorority, and became an Aggie Ambassador.

As an Aggie Ambassador, Sarah promotes the UC Davis College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. One of the highlights of Sarah’s fall term was harvesting olives at UC Davis’s organic olive grove. She explains, “The olives I helped to harvest are now the famous UC Davis Estate Olive Oil.” So famous, that if you visit the UC Davis campus bookstore, you can purchase that olive oil.

More recently, Sarah joined the UC Davis Draft Horse and Driving Club. She is excited to share her progress saying, “I know how to drive a horse and buggy, but I don’t even know how to drive a car yet!” She mentioned that tractor driving lessons were on the agenda, so we’ll look forward to that update.

Wether she’s studying for exams, helping on a local farm, or encouraging future UC Davis students, Sarah has found a greater appreciation for her father’s military career. “I think all of this hard work has helped me to better understand and appreciate what it must have been like for my dad to work long hours and hard shifts on the submarine.” Her father, Senior Chief Michael Berg, USN (Ret), recently retired after twenty-three years of service.

The ThanksUSA team extends our thanks to Senior Chief Berg for his military service. We congratulate Sarah on receipt of her Stephen Curry/ThanksUSA scholarship and we hope that her eagerness for new experiences continues throughout her undergraduate years.

“I would like Stephen Curry and ThanksUSA supporters to know how thankful I am to them. Their contribution has allowed me to experience things here at UC Davis that I never would have dreamed I could do! All these wonderful things are preparing me for the work I intend to do in third world countries – teaching people how to raise fish and crops sustainably in order to be able to provide for themselves.”


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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.


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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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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ThanksUSA is now accepting scholarship applications for the 2013-2014 academic year. Completing a scholarship application may seem like a daunting task, but it’s really just a matter of providing the requested information. A complete overview of this year’s scholarship program can be found here, but the following can help get you started:

Tips For Completing The ThanksUSA Scholarship Application

  • Carefully read through the entire application. Be sure to fill it out completely and accurately. Proofread your application and verify that all supporting documents are attached before submitting.
  • When stating your educational and career objectives, be concrete. Tell us what you are studying and why. Even if you’re undecided about your major, relay what you wish to accomplish with your education.
  • Demonstrate that you’re a well-rounded individual. List all of you activities and be sure to include any recognition you have received for them. You may immediately think of academics or sports, but what about your community involvement? Are you involved with a religious organization? Have you participated in charitable drives? Do you have a hobby? Are you employed? Do you mentor or tutor? Don’t sell yourself short!
  • If you don’t understand a portion of the application, don’t be afraid to ask for assistance: thanksusa@scholarshipamerica.org

The ThanksUSA team encourages you to share ThanksUSA’s mission with your family and friends – Just click on one of the social links below. Don’t forget to support our mission by making your tax-deductible donation today!

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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.”


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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Over the past three years, Navy Reserve dependent Hayley Brands has received a total of $9,000 in ThanksUSA Scholarships, including this past year’s $3,000 Oshkosh Defense/Senator Ted Stevens Memorial Scholarship. As she prepares for graduation and a career as a teacher, Hayley takes some time to share her educational journey and future plans with ThanksUSA supporters.

Hayley during a study-abroad in Spain

Just two weeks from now, Hayley will earn her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Spanish. Always a dedicated student, she has earned teaching endorsements in basic mathematics and middle school science, will graduate Summa Cum Laude, and is receiving the University Scholar Award for UP’s School of Education for earning a cumulative 4.0 GPA.

Hayley’s academic success has at UP has already led to her first teaching position through the Pacific Alliance for Catholic Education, or PACE. Over the next few years, Hayley will be earning her Master’s of Education degree while teaching middle school math and science at Sacred Heart Elementary in California. Hayley is especially excited about the opportunities offered through the PACE program and explains, “A unique facet of the program is that PACE teachers live in community with several other teachers in a PACE house in the community where they are teaching which serves as a strong support system for new teachers.”

When asked about her desire to teach, Hayley responds,  “A combination of experiences, relationships, and beliefs drew me to teaching. I was blessed to have several sensational teachers as a student who inspired me to be a life-long learner. Like most students, I also had teachers whose heart wasn’t in their work for some reason. I aspire to be the teacher who is a role model who inspires her students to become life-long learners. I also hope to inspire female students to pursue STEM careers because societal gender-roles often tell them the contrary. All five of my younger siblings have a form of high-functioning autism which has posed some unique challenges in their education. As someone who has siblings with special needs, I have empathy for students who might learn a little bit differently than the “average” student and feel confident I can adapt instruction to help all students succeed in my classroom no matter what their individual background is. Finally, I am drawn to teaching because it is a vocation in which I can make a difference every day I enter my classroom. Furthermore, I am excited to learn something new as I teach every day because teaching is an art that no one can ever perfect. The opportunity to make a difference in the lives of kids and constantly learn new things is exciting!”

Hayley with her brothers and sister

As a new teacher, Hayley will bring some fresh ideas and teaching methods to her students. For instance, during her fifth grade student teaching placement, she was able to incorporate her Spanish minor into the curriculum. She explains, “I recently taught a lesson on word histories, specifically tracing English words back to Latin roots using dictionaries. Since Spanish is more closely tied to Latin than English, I asked bilingual students to explain what the Latin roots meant in Spanish which was a cool way for them to share their language with the class. I have also connected similar grammar structures in English to Spanish grammar structures when teaching grammar skills to clarify concepts for students whose primary home language is Spanish. I’ve also incorporated it in ways as simple as being able to accurately pronounce words in stories in the reading curriculum from Hispanic cultures. In the future, I hope to eventually work in a dual-immersion or bilingual school to utilize my Spanish more readily in classroom instruction.”

During her time at the University of Portland, Hayley was very involved with campus activities and organizations. She has served as an officer in the Kappa Delta Pi international education honor society, was a Residence Assistant, and mentored through the Big Brothers, Big Sisters, just to name a few. One of the activities Hayley speaks most fondly about is the annual Reading Fair saying, “Over 350 families attended this event, enjoyed literacy-based activities, an obstacle course, a puppet show, and all children left with a free, new book!”

Growing up in a large military family helped Hayley develop the patience, compassion, and the self-discipline necessary for academic success. “I learned quickly how to be fairly self-sufficient and to take care of my responsibilities at home especially when dad was away on Navy duty for an extended period of time. When I was a sophomore in high school, my dad was deployed to the Pentagon for the whole year which was a major growing experience for me because I had to step up and take on my responsibility to helping mom make sure things were running smoothly at home while balancing my academics, extracurricular activities, and a part-time job. It wasn’t the easiest transition, but I grew up a lot during that year. These experiences facilitated my transition into college. I easily transitioned to living in a new place, developing a new routine, and taking on new adult responsibilities. I am grateful I was well-prepared for this transition from my experiences as a military child and how my parents purposefully taught me to be self-sufficient. During my junior year, I was a Resident Assistant and worked with many younger students who struggled with this transition because they were learning lessons about self-sufficiency and balancing one’s responsibilities for the first time as freshmen. In advising and supporting them, I am grateful for the values my military family instilled in me,” says Hayley.

ThanksUSA is honored to have been a part of Hayley’s educational journey. She explains just how important it was to have the financial support of ThanksUSA, especially during her senior year. “My full-time student teaching placement prevented me from being able to continue working my work-study job. Student teaching comprises more hours than a full-time job between planning, commuting, teaching time, and still taking university courses. Since ThanksUSA helped me to pay for my tuition and other school expenses, I was able to save earnings from the summer to pay for gas, utilities, rent, and other costs that continue to arise during this time when I am not able to earn an income so I am not worried about making ends meet. This lack of worry allows me to dedicate my time and energy to being the best teacher I can be for my students each day,” she says.

If you are a college-bound military dependent or spouse, we encourage you to apply for a ThanksUSA Scholarship today. Applications are being accepted now through May 15th at www.ThanksUSA.org. There are some changes to the scholarship program this year, including scholarships for military spouses attending school part-time. For complete details, please make sure to visit the 2012 Overview page.

We close this week’s Scholarship News with a few words of gratitude from Hayley:

“The ThanksUSA program and generous donors have truly made a difference in my education that has prepared me to serve our nation as a teacher. Thanks again☺”

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Music fans are invited to join ThanksUSA in Las Vegas, Nevada, on April 15th for a country music concert. Headliner Rodney Atkins and Nashville’s Lucas Hoge will perform in honor of our men and women in uniform. Free tickets are available for military personnel (active-duty or retired) and their family members. For non-military guests, tickets will be available at the door for a $20 donation. If you are a member of the armed services or a military family member and would like tickets, please email sherrykoch@thanksusa.org or comment on this blog (all contact info will be kept confidential).

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