Scholarships Change Lives
"My name is Megan and I was once the recipient of a Mesa Community College (MCC) scholarship". When I was 18 years old, I was transitioning from a group home to independent living. I had lost my mother at the age of 12 and had been in shelters and group homes as a ward of the state of Arizona.
I had dropped out of high school my senior year- I had a Child Protective Services case worker that told me I moved around between group homes too much to get the credits to graduate. I asked her, “How will I go to college?” Her response was, “You are a CPS kid. You need to think about getting a job and how you are going to survive, not college.”
When I turned 18 and “graduated” from the system, I was given $345 and wished good luck. I was living in a small apartment down the street from MCC and worked full-time at Red Lobster and part-time at a record store. During this time, I finished my high school diploma, as I only had two classes that I needed. Then, in January 2004, I enrolled at MCC with one Intro to Philosophy class.
I received the Pell grant as an independent student, but this was not enough money to offset the hours I had to cut at work in order to take a full load of classes. At the time that I was told I would be the recipient of a scholarship at MCC. I was struggling with the decision of dropping out of college so I could work the hours I needed to pay my bills.
I kept hearing the case worker’s voice, “You need to think about how you are going to survive.” I remember receiving a scholarship award letter in the mail, and I felt like it was a last-minute reprieve. The scholarship was enough money to allow me to pre-pay my apartment rent for a couple of months, which allowed me to stay in school with reduced work hours. That boost meant that my education did not have to stop.
Since then, I finished my Associates in Social Work at MCC. My experience with CPS made me determined to help people live to their potential in spite of their circumstances. I transferred to a state university in August 2008, and graduated with my Bachelors in Social Work in May 2010. I did my Masters in Social Work the following year, graduating in May 2011. My Masters’ thesis was a case study of a patient I had that struggled with a rare eating disorder, diabetes bulimia, and the therapeutic interventions used while she was hospitalized at my internship site at Scottsdale HealthCare- Osborn. I also contributed to a professor’s textbook, Human Behavior in the Social Environment, which is used in undergraduate social work programs throughout the country.
I applied to and was accepted into the Doctor of Behavioral Health program in Arizona, and was the youngest student ever enrolled there. Because of the recommendations of my Masters’ professors, I was granted permission to get my doctorate in an accelerated program. This required me to take 6-7 classes a semester as well as complete my dissertation research simultaneously. My research was completed at John C. Lincoln – North Mountain Hospital, and consisted of providing brief therapy and motivational interviewing to patients with diabetes who have frequent hospital admissions, in an effort to increase their motivation and self-efficacy in managing their chronic conditions. My dissertation was “Best in Class” and is used as an example for incoming students as to how their research should look. I graduated as a Doctor in Behavioral Health in December 2012.
I am now working at Banner Thunderbird Medical Center. I am on a medical/surgical unit that is specifically for the behavioral health population, and it is my responsibility in keeping them safe mentally and emotionally while they are being treated here.
Please know that the scholarship from MCC came at a very significant time in my life, and if I had not received that award letter, on that day, I likely would have withdrawn from college and continued to live a life that was far below my potential. I thank the donor, not only on behalf of myself, but on behalf of all the students you may help over the years and those who will benefit in the future. What you do, matters. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!
~Dr. Megan M., Ph.D., LMSW