Ventura, Calif.—Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the Ventura College Foundation’s Phoenix Scholarship program awarded scholarships to 29 students at a ceremony held Thursday, April 18 at the college’s Wright Event Center.
Scholarships were given to re-entry students based on their applications, essays, and recommendations from counselors, faculty and employers. Over $68,000 was handed out to students at the ceremony.
One of the recipients was Anna Heaton, 25. She began attending college right out of high school but decided to leave to join the military. Heaton is now taking advanced math and science-based courses at Ventura College and plans to transfer to UC Davis next year. She has her sights on medical school. “I’m fascinated with neuroscience,” says Heaton. “I would love to be a surgeon as well as do neuroscience research.”
When Heaton first returned to school, she says she didn’t realize scholarships were available. “Receiving the support from the foundation, the Veterans Resource Center and professors keeps me motivated. I know people believe in me,” says Heaton. “Scholarships provide a tremendous sense of security. I’m grateful and honored.”
The Phoenix Scholarship Program was established in 1999 by Ventura College Foundation board members to support Ventura College re-entry students. Phoenix Scholarships are designed to assist students who have minimal or no resources to pay for their education and have chosen to return to school after a break in education or to learn new skills. The recipients are selected based on each student’s academic goals and progress, together with their financial need.
“Students re-entering college face many challenges including family and work commitments. It’s sometimes difficult to stay focused,” says Rob van Nieuwburg, Ventura College Foundation board chair. “Even with all they have going on with their lives, they shine academically.”
This year’s scholarship winners are Jennifer Anderson, Courtney Carlos, Eric Chagolla, Kelly Chow, Kevin Cross, Michael DiNardo, Thomas Galindo, Sandra Grotsky, Amber Hansen, Anna Heaton, Meagan Hill, Michelle Jacobs, Jessica Maciel, Angelica Magdaleno, Juan Montecinos, Christina Montrose, Melissa Obille, Jessica Orozco, Francisco Ramos, Crystal Richardson, Suzanne Rodriguez, Kristina Romero, Patrick Rose, Valerie Salazar, Paola Sanchez de Acosta, Mayra Smith, Clare Tobias, Jonathan Waters and Evelyn Wembakpete.