2022-2023 Scholarship Recipients
Hannah attends CT State - Three Rivers Community College, with the goal of transferring to the University of Connecticut to pursue a Bache- lor’s degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Management. Her passion for the environment and science has led her to become President of the club, Three Rivers United Environmentals (TRUE). She also volunteers with the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) for water testing by analyzing the macroinvertebrates. Hannah is a first-generation college student who has encountered numerous obstacles in pursuit of higher education. She battles several chronic illnesses, including rheumatoid arthritis, type one diabetes, fibromyalgia, and endometriosis. Through it all, she remains positive and strives to live the best life that she can. She expresses gratitude for her CONNTAC Counselor, Victoria Vasquez, for helping her find scholarships and guiding her on any questions that she had. Hannah explains that the scholarship will assist with tuition costs and alleviate some financial pressures.
Cesar Franco Herrera
Cesar is an Architectural Engineering Technology major at CT State- Capital Community College. Upon receiving his Associate degree, he plans to transfer to the University of Hartford to earn his Bachelor’s degree. With Spanish being his native language, Cesar describes his language barrier as one of his primary challenges. He credits his col- lege courses for assisting him with excelling in the English language. In addition to being a college student, Cesar is a full-time employee, and he frequents the gym to improve cognitive performance, reduce stress, and stay healthy. He thanks CONNTAC Counselor, Tomeka Williams, for encouraging him to apply for the scholarship and explaining how the program works. Cesar shares that the scholarship will help him pay for college costs and supplies. It will also allow him to work less hours and focus on school.
Carol attends CT State - Gateway Community College with aspira- tions of becoming a Drug Addiction Counselor and helping others who are willing to live a better quality of life. Afterwards, she plans to pursue a Psychology degree because it deals with the mind, and she believes that everything starts with a thought. Carol has experienced a great deal of hardships in life, including, battling addiction, home- lessness, and the passing of her mother, after being her caretaker as she suffered from dementia. Despite these trials, she was determined to persevere and pursue post-secondary education. Carol now has an apartment and has maintained sobriety for a commendable four years. In addition to her studies, her extracurricular activities include, attending church, bible study, a women’s empowerment group, and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings. She appreciates her CONNTAC Counselor, Bryce McKinzie, for helping her revise her resume and completing her financial aid application. “Bryce was very nice, pa- tient, and cooperative.” Carol shares that the scholarship will help her get a new laptop and help her rebuild her life.
Terez transferred from CT State — Middlesex Community College and is currently enrolled at Southern Connecticut State University pur- suing her Bachelor’s degree. Over the years, she has volunteered at Masonicare Health Center. She credits her experiences there for providing her with life lessons in empathy and compassion for others. Terez further explains that the biggest obstacle she has overcome in her life is fear. As a senior citizen, fear of failing kept her from pursu- ing higher education earlier in life. She is proud to have stepped out of her comfort zone, and each semester she gets closer to achieving her goal. She expresses gratitude to CONNTAC Counselor, Jacob Li, for providing financial aid guidance and advice with the admissions process. “Jacob gave me encouragement and eased my fears about being a senior citizen stu- dent. He gave me the confidence I needed and went above and beyond the call of duty for me.” Terez explains that the scholarship will help with fees associated with fieldwork costs and transportation.
=Emily attends CT - Naugatuck Valley Community College with the goal of becoming an Elementary School Teacher. Upon receiving her Asso- ciate’s degree, she intends to continue schooling until she receives her Master’s degree in Education. Emily is a single mother to six children. Sadly, in 2019, she and her children were victims of a heinous crime. As a result, she had a hard time concentrating on her studies and had to withdraw from her college courses. This withdrawal resulted in a debt to the college that Emily had to pay through taking out a loan. Despite these circumstances, Emily is determined to beat the odds and set an example for her children. She appreciates CONNTAC Counse- lor, Shanon Taunton, for helping her apply for scholarships and explaining the classes that she should take. “Shanon encouraged me to keep going, not look back and not give up. Her strong words helped me emotionally and mentally.” Emily shares that the schol- arship will help pay for classes, books, transportation, and her college loan.
Thomas is a Biomedical Engineering major at the University of Connecticut with dreams of using his knowledge to create, fix, and improve pros- thetics and assist those who rely on them. Growing up, he describes his life as tumultuous as he witnessed fighting and drug abuse with his parents. As a result, his father decided to move him and his sister to their grandparents’ home. Unfortunately, another tragedy struck when his father, who lived with them, unexpectedly took his own life. Despite these challenges, Thomas has persevered with determination to become the best version of himself and achieve his goals through education. Addi- tionally, his desire to help others is demonstrated through his countless hours of community service and participation in team sports. He thanks CONNTAC Counselor, Jacob Li, for being in- strumental in helping him navigate the complex world of financial aid and in exploring his college options. “Jacob made me feel comfortable about going forward with college.” Thomas shares that the scholarship will help with college costs, and he can take one more step towards achieving his dreams and making a meaningful impact in the world..