Those in pursuit of education usually face challenges, but it's what one makes of these challenges that shows their character. While Sun Devil Family Association scholarship students have their obstacles, they are proving that working through them ultimately benefits us all.
A West campus student and father of three, Sam '09 says finding balance is his biggest challenge. "Trying to balance work, school and spending time with my family has been hard," says Sam, who will graduate in May with a double major in psychology, and religion and applied ethics. "The family association scholarship is helping to provide for my education so that I only have to work part time."
Sam, in turn, hopes to impact the community as a philosophy professor and a marriage/family counselor. "I specifically hope to help men and women become better parents to their children," he says. "Parents have a huge impact and influence on their children's future. I want to teach that to parents and give them the tools to improve their skills."
Catrina '10 faces similar college challenges in her experience, finding it difficult to deal with the workload and family life. "I'm the first in my family to go to college — the first of my family to even graduate high school," says Catrina, who originally wanted to be a school counselor, but is now weighing her career options. "I feel a big responsibility to set a good example for my siblings."
The family association scholarship has been a real relief for Catrina who recently was able to buy a laptop and has been able to reduce her workload thanks to the funding. "I don't feel the stress anymore," she says. "I spend my free time volunteering and really help make a difference in this world. The scholarship gave this to me and I thank them for the opportunity."
Carlos '09 is very confident that financing his education was his greatest challenge. "Bottom line, if I didn't have scholarships, I couldn't go to college," says Carlos. "I view this accomplishment [college] as fulfilling a family dream. My sister goes to Stanford and my brother is right behind me at ASU. Since our parents didn't finish school, we have to."
Carlos attended a vocational high school where his talent in accounting emerged. "I liked it right away and knew I wanted to continue studying it at ASU." He will begin working for Barclays Capital in New York when he graduates in May from the W. P. Carey School of Business. "I learned something at a conference my freshman year that stuck with me: learn, earn, return. I've learned, am on my way to earn, and one day I'll be able to return what I've been given."
After emigrating from Mexico with her two young sons in 2000, Patricia '10 almost immediately knew she would have to pursue her education further to be a role model for her sons. "My older son came home from preschool in tears one day because he couldn't speak English like the other kids," says Patricia. "When kids look up to you, you want to be the best for them, so we started learning together."
Patricia's husband is a huge support for her as she student teaches full time and raises three kids. She is thankful for the family association scholarship. "The scholarship committee chuckled when I said it, but it's true. I'm thankful to have the scholarship, so that I can help contribute to the household at least for a few months."
Beyond relieving the financial burdens of college, each of the scholars expressed their appreciation of the selection process and the support system that exists with the parents after they've been chosen. They've discovered a second family as part of the family association's scholarship program through the volunteer events, peer networking and general moral support. It's safe to say that the benefits of investing in these ASU students will be felt by them, SDFA and the community for years to come.