First to go to college in their families, these COCC scholarship students are grateful for acts of community kindness
Being number one at anything is tough. Being the first family member to go to college often requires more than persistence and adapting to a new landscape – it may require facing obstacles of a financial nature. Networking and Cyber Security program at Central Oregon Community College (COCC), whose efforts and ambitions have illuminated his bright future. But it was made possible by a full scholarship funded by community contributions to the COCC Foundation.
He said, “I found my purpose at COCC, but I can’t do any of this without this scholarship.”
Having made his first computer at the age of 14—and encouraged by his mother to try something tech-related at COCC—Hector, the Dean’s List student, is now on his way to completing a cybersecurity degree. He already has plans for his next step, including earning a four-year degree.
“I want to stop cyber threats,” he added. “I will help companies find their weaknesses by trying to break their online security as an ethical hacker, discover vulnerabilities and secure against real attacks. I want to protect and serve them.” Hector’s story is unique and individual. But it’s part of a bigger story, too. One in three students at COCC is unable to cover educational expenses with existing resources, including family contributions, student earnings, and grant aid. And, like Hector, first-generation college students are often determined to give back to their community after graduation. Recent data from educational research firm EAB shows that 61% of first-generation students have indicated just that, compared to 43% of their continuing-generation peers, and Brenda, a student from Prineville University, is also a first-generation undergraduate. She is training in the Nursing Assistant Program at COCC.
“I graduated from Croke County High School in 2020, and in my senior year I knew I wanted to go into the medical field,” she said. “My goal is to become a registered nurse.”
Brenda is currently completing prerequisites and will apply to the Nursing program in 2022. “I would like to thank the foundation for choosing me to receive this scholarship.” She helps shape a positive future for both Brenda and her community. Supporting a positive future is important to Mark and Gigi Copeland, former residents of Prineville and long-time contributors to COCC Scholarships.
“The community has an opportunity to help see people who want to go to school, go to school,” said Mark, a retired attorney. “By donating to the foundation, it helps make this happen.” Copeland is associated with scholarships on a personal level. His private higher education path received full scholarship support all the way through the Faculty of Law. He emphasizes that support for the education of one student benefits all. “Both society and the individual are better off.”
For first-generation students at COCC, and for others eligible for Foundation Scholarships, support from the community is vital. The full scholarships are valued at $4,500 USD and are awarded based on financial need and academic perseverance, and contributions to the non-profit charity COCC are tax-deductible. Be a part of the amazing scholarship stories at COCC and donate online today by going to cocc.edu/give or by calling 541-383-7225.
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