I would like to extend a huge appreciation for the scholarship you have provided to me for the 2009-10 school year. The Keep Me Maryland Fund has allowed me to pay for my books and partially my rent. When I was informed that I was receiving this award, I was at a very frustrated point in my life because I still had a balance on my student account and was denied all of the loans I had applied for. The Keep Me Maryland Fund has refreshed my dream of being able to continue through college and graduate. I hope to further my education in graduate school, to eventually work amongst other colleagues in the fight against poverty, global health and the HIV/AIDS virus. Because of Keep Me Maryland, that dream has been put back into perspective. Thank you.
When I received notification that I would be a recipient of this scholarship, I was extremely overwhelmed. At the beginning of this semester, I found out that the financial aid I have depended on for the past three years was taken away due to an error in the way that my mother filed her taxes. For the first time in my undergraduate career, I had to take out loans to cover some of my expenses. These loans were still not enough to cover my housing costs which have gone up since last year. All of this financial distress came as a time when I was still mourning the death of my little brother. I am so grateful for this scholarship because it has lightened the burden on my already strenuous senior year.
I would like to personally thank you for your donations that have allowed me to receive this scholarship for the 2009-10 academic year. Your donations are allowing me to continue my studies in biological sciences at the University of Maryland. The money I have received has so far gone to textbooks and tuition for the current semester. This scholarship will grant me the opportunity to give back to Maryland in the future just as it has given to me.
It's such a generous thing for people to give to someone whom they know nothing about. I am so appreciative of the Keep Me Maryland grant for enabling me to continue my studies in public and community health. I am on such a good track with my program and love what I'm learning. Having to leave would have been so difficult for me to accept. I don't take my education for granted and I'll never forget that someone helped me complete it. In the future I hope to be able to do the same for someone else.
Maryland Becomes New Family
When Nicole Sedaka came the Maryland in 2007 she felt like she'd found a new home and she wanted to do her part as a member of the family.
Over the next two years Sedaka became a peer educator with the health center and a counselor on the crisis intervention hotline. She helped freshmen find their way as an orientation advisor and continues her service as a resident assistant and a group fitness instructor while maintaining a 4.0 GPA. in her public and community health program.
"I faced many difficult experiences at home, especially in my last few years of high school. I just wanted to get to an environment where I could thrive," says the New Jersey native. "At Maryland I found the support that I needed and the sense of community that I was seeking."
But when the economy took a nosedive and financial aid resources declined, Sedaka found herself facing the choice of huge loan debt or dropping out. "It was such a scary and frustrating time," she says. "If I hadn't received assistance from the Keep Me Maryland Fund, I don't think I would be here today."
Continuing on track to graduate in 2011, Sedaka is exploring various paths for a career in public health. As a fellow in the Federal Semester Program, she is learning the intricacies of health policy while interning with the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
"All of these experiences are incredibly important because they have allowed me to grow both personally and professionally," says Sedaka. "They enable me to explore my interests and strengths, and have given me the opportunity to learn a great deal about other people as well as myself."
While she is still deciding to focus on medical, community health or public policy work, she says one thing is very clear. "I'll never forget that someone else helped me get through college to pursue a career, and I hope to be able to do the same for a student in the future."