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Brett, College Cash Winner

Brett, College Cash Winner

Posted: 07.31.14

College Cash Scholarship recipient Brett Libowitz
Congratulations to Brett Libowitz, our 2014 College Cash Grand Prize Winner and July’s Scholar of the Month!  Brett graduated from high school this past spring and he will begin studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Virginia this month.  Read his essay below:

The single most important thing I learned at the College Cash 101 event was to advocate for myself. Prior to the seminar, I thought the financial aid and scholarship process was out of my control. I planned to apply for scholarships and aid, submit my paperwork, and let the process take its course. However, the information I received encouraged me to exhort time and effort in order to oversee and manage the process and ultimately make my financial goals a reality.

I discovered that there is scholarship money available that is not advertised, but can be tapped into by reaching out. Since the “Cash 101” seminar, I have contacted the four senators and delegates of the eleventh district to receive scholarship applications and I have begun to apply. In the past, I searched college’s websites for scholarship opportunities, but I learned that there may be more opportunities available if I ask the offices of admissions or contact specific departments.

The meeting highlighted essays as a place to promote myself and explained how to do so. This meeting began to teach me the value of showing rather than telling in personal essays. For example, I was able to replace a statement about my dedication in training for the Baltimore Marathon with recollections of twenty-one mile training runs early on Saturday mornings. In this example, I was able to make a stronger statement about myself by showing my experience rather than merely stating it. This seminar charged me to portray myself in the best light possible in order to achieve my goals in the college application process.

Prior to the session, I believed that the financial package I was dealt was incontestable, but learned that I can go to the financial aid office and request an improved package I feel I deserve. As a result of the information provided, I will potentially take two actions I would not have otherwise. If I truly desire to go to a university but cannot justify the cost as is, I will communicate with the financial aid office seeking money available for prospective students in my situation. Secondly, if I lose need-based aid because I receive private scholarships I will argue to redeem these need based federal funds. I learned that it is worthwhile to make an attempt at requesting changes to my financial aid and grant money.

Central Scholarship’s College Cash 101 event empowered me with the information necessary to put my best foot forward in my ventures to receive financial assistance for my higher education.

Although I found the program to be extremely informative, I would have liked more information on when a more expensive college is worth the cost of attendance. I would have appreciated more coverage on the factors to consider in making a decision like this. I feel a section next year based on when it may be worthwhile to spend more on college would be beneficial, but either way I am grateful for the commitment Central Scholarship makes to those seeking an affordable college experience!

Please join us for upcoming College Cash events throughout the year for opportunities to win scholarships and learn about the financial aid process.

Our Second 2014 College Cash Winner Is…

Posted: 06.20.14

College Cash Scholarship recipient Jyna Maeng
Jyna Maeng!  Jyna attended our Howard County College Cash session in the winter.  College Cash is a free educational program that Central Scholarship offers to students all over Maryland.  We are currently planning a fall session in October all about Student Loan Repayment.  Stay tuned and check this page for details.  Jyna is a junior at the University of Maryland, College Park, where she studies Computer Science.  Congratulations, Jyna!  Read her winning essay below:

“Welcome to College Cash 101, we are so excited that you have decided to join us today. I have a question for you all, how many of you are undergraduates?” Do I raise my hand? I do not know. The seminar moved on, but I did not. My hand laid limp on my thigh, and I wondered when I should have raised it.

I have come to struggle with these types of questions of what category I fall under. You see, I am a post-baccalaureate student, in other words, a second bachelor’s student. Seven months ago, I was on my merry way down the only path I ever knew, accepted and ready to enter a Communications Master’s program at Georgetown University, when I spotted a robot. This robot’s name was Gilbert and Gilbert was visiting my city with an annual Science Conference open to the public. There, I met people with job titles I have never heard of before, telling me how they programmed Gilbert to find his way out of a maze, which was absolutely remarkable! You see, humans can walk through a maze and when they run into a dead end, they intuitively know to turn around and try a different direction, and not return to the dead end. Robots (and computers) don’t intuitively know anything, so the amazing thing about Gilbert was it could take in new information like finding a dead end, and learn not to go there again, without someone manually moving it.

Gilbert was not born with a deductive mind, it was made for him. These people were playing God, creating life (robotic life), giving inanimate objects the ability to learn from their environment and adapt, like living things. It was eye opening and eventually; life changing. I asked what field they were working in, they replied, ‘Computer Science.’ When I was a new college student I never even heard, let alone, considered Computer Science as something I could have pursued. I had only taken one math course in my entire college career. I believed that I was not a “math person” and that it would have been too hard for me to pursue anything related to it, but truthfully, I was scared. Scared that I might fail and I was not that intelligent. So, I chose a safe major, where I was guaranteed to graduate.

Then, I found myself face to screen with Gilbert and a realization just echoed in my ribs; this is where I should be. I knew I had to get a degree in Computer Science, but everyone I happened to ask about the major either said it was ‘extremely difficult’ or actually dropped out of the major and the fear clawed its way in again. I began to wonder, ‘What if I just was not one of those naturally gifted “computer people”?’ So, what? If I am turn out to be untalented, can I not learn? Can I still not pursue it through hard work rather than through an inherit gift? At the core, I wanted to learn Computer Science and my desire puffed itself up against the looming fear.

After weeks of deliberation, I decided to forgo my Master’s program and become a post-baccalaureate student. Some of my colleagues questioned why I would make such a drastic change. They thought that becoming an undergraduate was a step backward and I would have to pay for college on my own this time.

I understand the rarity of a second bachelor student with such a drastic change in career choice, but I chose this uphill battle because I asked, ‘why bother chasing a dream that isn’t yours?’ I wanted to run after my own. And so, I sprinted. Having little math background, I taught myself Pre-calculus to test out of the college class and pushed through Calculus I and II in half a year while teaching myself Java (programming language) to get ahead of my classes and career. And while I was running, gasping for air, I realized how far I could go if I willed my legs to just keep stepping.

And when I stepped into the College Cash 101 seminar, I thought the most valuable knowledge it would give me would be a list of available scholarships in my county, but it was not knowledge at all that affected me the most, it was advice. When Angela and Jen, went over scholarship essay tips, they said to be human in our essays. Be human and advocate for yourself. I have been trying to hide that I am a second bachelor’s student in every essay, every conversation, because I felt it would somehow hurt my chances of being chosen for scholarships and grants, but now I feel I can write essays truer to my situation and dreams rather than what I think I have to become for some of these scholarship essays. I will learn how to better advocate for myself, and use my unique perspective in my essays to better my chances at future scholarships.

I will also look for scholarships particular to students pursuing a second bachelor’s or something geared towards my major. As Jen and Angela said, we should be more specific and local in our scholarship searches to increase our chances of being selected.

Jen told us that when writing an essay, you should tell a story, rather than list your accomplishments. This is my story, and this seminar helped me begin to write my future chapters the right way.

Bonnie Lyon, Art Educator and Scholar of the Month

Posted: 06.26.12

BHD Endowed Scholarship Program for Graduate Teacher Education recipient Bonnie Lyon

Bonnie Lyon is an aspiring art educator.  She received the BHD Endowed Scholarship Program for Graduate Teacher Education at Central Scholarship.

As a product of the Harford County Public School System, Bonnie came to appreciate the diverse student body and the challenges students face.  She writes, “I believe allowing students to channel their inner frustrations in a therapeutic non-threatening way is the most significant challenge in the school systems today.  It is imperative for a child to be able to have a creative outlet and share their inner voice.”

Bonnie earned her undergraduate degree at Towson University.  During her time at Towson, Bonnie was an assistant teacher, played the piano for a children’s choir, and conducted tours of the Baltimore Museum of Art.  During the summer before her first year of graduate school, Bonnie incurred  a terrible fall which resulted in significant injuries.  “I was completely disarrayed as to why I would have sustained such significant injuries in my life at a time in which I was ready to start my life as a young educated lady,” writes Bonnie.  Medical bills from the accident placed a financial burden on Bonnie and her family.  The BHD Scholarship helped Bonnie pay for school and graduate this year.

Central Scholarship has helped many students become teachers.  At this year’s Student Awards Ceremony, Joshua Parker — Maryland State Teacher of the Year — will speak to our guests.  For more information on this year’s Student Awards Ceremony, click here.

Announcing $5,000 Scholarship To One Student Attending College Cash 101

Posted: 03.12.12

College Cash 101 logo

All students at this year’s COLLEGE CASH 101 event will be eligible to win a $5,000 MONEY® Magazine scholarship.  Space is filling up quickly so register soon.  Every year, Central Scholarship provides students the opportunity to learn about financial literacy.

This year, attendees will walk away with knowledge in the college financial aid letter, basic budgeting, the perils of credit, and repaying student loans. We also include a session on post-college employability designed to help students understand what to expect after graduation.

Read about Central Scholarship’s annual College Cash event here.

Two Weeks Left to Apply For Scholarships

Posted:

Students — the April 1st deadline is approaching and we encourage everyone to get their applications in to us soon.  Every year, we have scholarship-worthy students who begin their applications and forget to come back and complete them before the deadline.  Don’t let that be you this year and complete your application today!  If you have any questions about the application, call our office at 410-415-5558.

Happy International Women’s Day!

Posted: 03.08.12

Marjorie Cook Scholarship recipient Hillary ScholtenToday is International Women’s Day — a holiday we celebrate by helping women afford higher education.  Since the founding of Central Scholarship in 1924, we have assisted women with dreams of college degrees.  In the first half of the 20th century, we paid for a young woman to pursue a degree in architecture when she was the only woman in her class and architecture was viewed as a man’s profession.  Since then, we have helped countless women become doctors, lawyers, nurses, teachers — all when they asked us for help.  Today, we offer women not only funding for undergraduate and graduate programs, but also professional studies.  Most recently, this included an entire class of CNA/GNAs (Nursing Assistants).

We are also proud to offer the Marjorie Cook Scholarship each year.  This Marjorie Cook Scholars program provides grants of up to $5,000 for women with a passion for women’s rights and equality who are pursuing graduate degrees in law or public policy.  In 2011, one of our Marjorie Cook Scholars was Hillary Scholten (pictured).  Hillary is in her final year in a four-year evening program at the University of Maryland School of Law.  She writes, “I was honored to receive the Marjorie Cook Scholarship for Women in recognition of my work as a woman and for women in the field of law.  My desire to serve disadvantaged women through legal advocacy is still strong, as is my need for financial assistance in completing my J.D.”  As a student supervisor at the University of Maryland’s Immigration Clinic last year, she worked on cases dealing with the problem of victimized immigrant women.  Hillary helped battered women who report the abuse but face the near certain result of the deportation of their primary breadwinner.

We’re proud of our long history helping women gain independence.  Today, Central Scholarship congratulates all women who dream of postsecondary education.

Central Scholarship President, Jan Wagner, selected for Leadership Maryland Class of 2012

Posted: 03.07.12

Central Scholarship President Jan WagnerANNAPOLIS, MD– Jan M. Wagner, president and CEO, Central Scholarship, Baltimore, and a resident of Easton, has been selected for the Leadership Maryland Class of 2012, its 20th Anniversary Class.  Founded in 1992, Leadership Maryland is an independent, educational, non-profit organization designed to inform top-level executives, from the public and private sectors, about the critical issues, challenges and opportunities facing the state of Maryland and its regions.  Wagner is one of 52 accomplished and talented statewide leaders selected to participate in the eight-month program.

Following a two-day opening retreat in April, participants will attend five two-day, and one one-day intense sessions focusing on issues, such as, economic development, education, health and human services, criminal and juvenile justice, environment, and multi-culturalism/diversity.  More than 100 experts representing business, government, education, and the non-profit community will serve as panelists and guest speakers.

“The participants represent a broad spectrum of highly qualified executives from an extraordinary group of statewide applicants,” according to Nancy Minieri, founding president and CEO of Leadership Maryland.  “After participating in a comprehensive range of experiences during this milestone anniversary year, these leaders will serve as important participants in the unified effort to shape Maryland’s future.”  Leadership Maryland is one of 34 state leadership programs nationwide and has graduated over 900 statewide leaders.

For more information, contact Jessica Schmidt-Bonifant, Development Director. 410-415-5558 or [email protected]

Students Volunteer at Thank-A-Thon & Focus Group

Posted: 01.24.12

Student volunteer at 2012 Thankathon  Student volunteer at 2012 Thankathon

Students stepped up to help this month at not one but TWO volunteer events.  Central Scholarship held our annual Thank-A-Thon where students call donors and express gratitude for their support.  Scholarship recipients like Ladell and Solomon (pictured above) and Denise, Alex, and Solomon (pictured below) donated their time to call donors and thank them for all that they do.

Student volunteer at 2012 ThankathonStudent volunteer at 2012 ThankathonStudent volunteer at 2012 Thankathon

Earlier in the month, we invited students to our office for a focus group lunch that Central Scholarship holds every year.  During lunch, students participated in a discussion led by the staff.  The questions asked helped us understand the student’s perspective in applying to Central Scholarship.  Thanks to all of the students (pictured below) for their helpful suggestions on how to improvea prospective student’s experience.

Staff and Students at Annual Central Scholarship Focus Group  Students at Annual Central Scholarship Focus Group