Part of the challenge of planning the future is that things can change so quickly. In 2001, Heidi Bartlett graduated high school with honors and was looking forward to attending the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning at the University of Cincinnati. Then everything changed in an instant: Her father passed away after suffering a massive heart attack.
"It was really a tough time for us", Heidi recalls. "We couldn’t believe it happened – just like that – and he was gone. It was really hard to grasp."
With her father’s passing, the family needed to save all of the money they could. Heidi understood this and wanted to get through school without being a financial burden to her mother or the rest of her family, so she worked on securing assistance from other sources. It was difficult to apply for financial aid so close to the beginning of classes, so Heidi took out loans and worked as a babysitter and in the DAAP records office to pay the bills.
Then, after her freshman year, life changed again. Heidi was awarded three scholarships from DAAP and a Cincinnatus scholarship that paid for most of her education. She went from constantly worrying about her growing debt or her next school payment to focusing on schoolwork and other assignments – precisely what she was at UC to do!
"It was such a huge relief when I found out I had been awarded those scholarships. I still needed to work to cover other expenses, but knowing I did not have to take out more loans or work two jobs while carrying a full class load was fantastic."
Heidi also found co-op work to be a big help, in defraying expenses and giving her insight into what kind of career path she wanted to take after graduation. "Co-op helped immensely with my expenses, but I don’t think I could have made it through without the scholarship support. It really enabled me to stop thinking so much about the money and how I would get it, or how long it would take me to pay it all back."
Heidi was very active on campus with Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority and the Panhellenic council. She was also a DAAP Ambassador and president of the Kappa Theta Epsilon Co-op Honor Society.
As a UC alumna, she will always have a place in her heart for the donors who made her education possible and hopes to be able to give back one day herself. "The scholarships I received meant so much to me. The university has helped me grow and become the person that I am today. I hope to continue that tradition for other students so they can grow, too."