Inspiration to want more out of life can come from anywhere, and can give us the strength to overcome almost any burden. For Chemical Technology major Paula Davis, that inspiration came with the birth of her son, Cepada-Dion. "He really is the most important person in my life," Paula says. "Everything I do seems to revolve around him."
Paula hesitated to return to college after having her son. Her first college experience did not go well; she feared the same thing might happen again, especially with the added responsibility of raising a young child. But her son made her want to push herself harder, so she took a chance and enrolled at UC’s College of Applied Science.
Ohio Instructional grants and Pell grants she was awarded made college more accessible, but her finances continued to be stretched very thin. "I already had two full-time jobs – student and mother. If I took a job on the side, I wouldn’t be able to study as much as I should, and I’d miss spending time with my son – which is usually the best part of my day."
In spite of the numerous challenges she faced, Paula has been remarkably successful in her studies. In her mind, her biggest accomplishments to date have been making the Dean’s list for the previous three quarters and the A- she received in calculus. "It was such a hard class! To have done that well in it gives me a powerful feeling, like I can do anything."
Paula’s hard work paid off when she was awarded the Joni Herschede Book Scholarship. That enabled her to buy the calculator recommended by her professors for the more advanced math classes she was taking. More importantly, it allowed her to purchase textbooks instead of borrowing them or using copies from the library.
"There were days where I wanted to study but couldn’t because I didn’t have time to get to the library, or because I was spending time with my son. And just because the library has a copy of the textbook does not mean you can actually check it out and borrow it for the night – it has to stay there. There were also times that I’d get to the library and realize someone else was using the book at the time. It was very frustrating."
Paula so appreciated the scholarship that she wrote a letter of thanks to the donor who made it possible. Although she has not met the donor, she hopes to arrange a meeting so she can convey her gratitude personally. "This scholarship was a big deal for me. I want to be a good role model for my son, and hope to be the first in my family to graduate from college. This scholarship is allowing me to do just that."
Paula hopes to return the favor some day and donate to scholarship funds so others can receive assistance like she did. "I know firsthand how important it is that students who work hard and need help be able to get that help. I’d love to donate to a scholarship fund and make that possible for someone else, as appreciation for the assistance I received."
Students like Paula depend on scholarship assistance to attend UC. Consider making a gift to one of the named scholarship funds at the University, or start one of your own.