2013 Next Step Maine Scholarship Fund
The first year of the Next Step Maine Scholarship Fund was a resounding success. We raised $33,000 from our partners and supporters. We received 180 nominations for scholarships from the 210 Next Step Employers committed to our statewide initiative to advance the educational attainment of working adults.
Although it was difficult to make decisions out of such a great field of applicants, we were able to award 17 scholarships to employees pursuing their degrees, ranging in size from $1,000 to $2,500. We awarded the scholarships at the State House on June 4th, and we will continue to track the progress of our inaugural scholarship winners as they reach their goals.
Dakotah Atchinson has been working for the Gulf of Maine Research Institute for three years, and is now a Database Administrator there. She is currently enrolled part-time at the University of Southern Maine in the Project Management Certificate program. Dakotah is also a new mother and the primary source of income for her family. Her employers have said that she is highly motivated and actively seeks out opportunities to gain experience. Dakotah is a Mitchell Scholar alumnus and represents GMRI on one of Educate Maine’s committees as part of Project Log-in. Learn more about Dakotah Atchinson: Watch her Next Step Maine Student Success Interview.
Missy Blackwell has been employed by Backyard Farms for six years. In her current official capacity she is the Food Safety and Quality Control Coordinator. She has been accepted to a part-time Bachelor’s degree program at Southern New Hampshire University. Besides her work and education, Missy is also a single mother and role model to her daughter. Missy is known at work for being driven and passionate about her job. She has advanced in the company and is a self-motivated leaner and employee.
William Bridgham, a design engineer, has worked for FHC Inc. for over 13 years. He is currently enrolled part-time in the Associate’s Degree program in Engineering from Southern Maine Community College. Aside from Bill’s exceptional loyalty, he is also no stranger to overcoming adversity. His employers say his perseverance and conviction are inspiring to his colleagues and Bill maintains a positive attitude in any situation. Bill and his employers are excited about the skills he will gain from his education.
Angie Butler has worked for The Next Step Domestic Violence Project for three years. In her current role there as a Transitional Services Advocate she is a role model for those she serves. Angie is enrolled part-time in a Bachelor’s program at the University of Maine at Augusta. In her difficult line of work, Angie continues to impress both her employers and clients with her dedication to her career. In addition to Angie’s work and education she is also a single mother.
Tanya Kristin Collins has been working for the Island Institute for over seven years in various roles and is currently serving as Operations Director. She is also enrolled full time at Southern New Hampshire University’s Bachelor’s Degree in Business Studies. In addition to her work obligations and education she is a single mom to three boys. Tanya’s employers say she is a life-long learner in the classroom but also through self-directed study. Her flexibility and willingness to take on new roles and responsibilities has allowed her to advance at the Island Institute and she has great potential for advanced leadership with her degree.
Jasmine Daniels has been working for Southern Kennebec Child Development Corporation for nine years in a variety of roles. Her current role as an Early Head Start Assistant Teacher also happens to be her passion. Jasmine is enrolled part time at University of Maine at Augusta’s Bachelor’s Degree program in Mental Health and Human Services with a concentration in Early Childhood Education. Her employers say she is committed to this field, despite the challenge of financing her education. Jasmine takes great initiative in her role and will make an excellent teacher for Maine children. Learn more about Jasmine Daniels: Watch her Next Step Maine Student Success Interview
Sandra Fournier has been the City of Presque Isle’s Solid Waste Administrative Assistant for two years. She has been accepted to a full-time Bachelor’s Degree program in Business from Southern New Hampshire University. Sandra has persevered through her educational goals while being a young mother of two. Her employers say she is hardworking, dependable and able to flourish in intense work environments. Sandra is an inspiration to her colleagues and proof that with determination you can achieve your goals.
Margaret “Peg” Grant is an employee of Costal Enterprises Inc. She has been with CEI for 12 years and works as an Administrative Assistant. Peg is enrolled in a part-time Associate’s program at University of Maine at Augusta. Her employers say that she is a vital contributor and organizer in a very difficult field of work. Peg is determined to be the first in her family to earn a college degree. She is a life-long learner and is strongly invested in the work she does. Learn more about Peg Grant: Watch her Next Step Maine Student Success Interview.
April Gagnon is a Home ownership Support & Retention Counselor at the Kennebec Valley Community Action Program, where she has been working for over nine years. She is also enrolled part time in Kennebec Valley Community College’s Associate’s Degree program in Business. April is employed in a difficult position dealing with families in jeopardy of losing their homes. She has moved up through the ranks at the organization with her dedication to helping her clients. Her employers recognize that April is the heart and soul of the housing counseling program at KVCAP. On top of her work and education April also manages to find time for her husband and three children. Learn more about April Gagnon: Watch her Next Step Maine Student Success Interview.
Jonathan Heath has been employed with the Family Violence Project for over two years; currently his official capacity is as the Director of Education Programs. Unable to finish a degree in the past, Jon is dedicated to advancing his education through a part-time Bachelor’s Degree program at the University of Maine at Augusta. His employers know Jon is a “shining star” and a role model in the community. He is an ethical and compassionate leader in the advocacy against domestic violence. Besides his work and education Jon is busy raising his daughter as a single parent. Learn more about Jonathan Heath: Watch his Next Step Maine Student Success Interview.
Tammy Holman has been employed by the Finance Authority of Maine for almost ten years. Her enthusiasm for her work has led her to hold many positions, and she is currently a Customer Service Associate II. Tammy has been accepted to a Bachelor’s program at the University of Maine at Augusta. It has been her long term goal to attain a Bachelor’s degree. Tammy is committed to her work, volunteering in FAME’s community projects and providing top level customer service. She has been able to do all this while supporting a husband with starting a small business and helping pay her daughter’s college tuition. Learn more about Tammy Holman: Watch her Next Step Maine Student Success Interview.
Emory Niles has been employed with Evergreen Home Performance for over 2 years in a variety of roles, currently as a Multi-Family Energy Analyst. His enthusiasm and the quality of his work help to reduce energy consumption and lower the carbon footprint of the buildings he works on. His company is excited to see him pursue the part-time Certificate program at the FLIR Infrared Training Center because the skills he learns there will be of direct impact on business operations and efficiencies.
Leane Page has been working as the Program Director of Economic & Workforce Development at the Northern Maine Development Commission for over a year. She is enrolled at Villanova University and is studying part time for a Project Management Certificate. Leane is also busy raising her family. Her employers say they are excited to help Leane achieve her educational goals because they know that her professional development will help lead her into senior level management. Leane’s potential with her organization is due in large part to her great capacity to learn different approaches to problems.
Sandra Powers has worked for Community Concepts Inc for over seven years. She has multiple roles including Certified Maine Families Home Visitor and is, in the words of her employers, a “stellar employee.” Currently Sandra is enrolled part-time in the University of Maine at Augusta’s Community Mental Health Bachelor’s degree program. Sandra started her career with a young family and unexpectedly lost her husband just a few years ago. She displays genuine concern for the families she serves and seeks out the skills she needs to improve the quality of her work.
Debra Stevens has worked for Advocates for Children for the past 12 years. As a Maine Families Androscoggin Home Visitor she is both a leader and a mentor for her colleagues. Debra is enrolled part-time in a Bachelor’s Degree Program from the University of Maine at Augusta. Debra faced challenges early in her life as a teenage mother to her now grown children. Debra is passionate about the work she does and is an asset to Advocates for Children, who greatly support and encourage her in achieving her long time educational goals. Debra also volunteers her time to organizations like KIDS FIRST.
Jennifer Warriner has worked as a Marketing/Development associate at Community Concepts Inc for the past three years. She is enrolled part-time in a Business and Marketing Bachelor’s degree program at Western Governor’s University. Jennifer raised her own children as a single mother and continues to support and help raise her grandchildren. Jennifer is an active volunteer in her community and is highly regarded by her employers in many business areas. She is an eager learner and achieving her bachelor’s degree has been a lifelong dream.
Kevin Welch is employed at Day One, where he has been for four years, as a Substance Abuse Counselor. He is enrolled part-time in an Associate’s Degree program at Southern Maine Community College. His employers know education is important to Kevin and cite his willingness to do and try new things as a major asset in his overall skill set. Kevin’s first career was in construction but he now works with youth who have substance abuse problems, and is committed to improving their lives and futures. Learn more about Kevin Welch: Watch his Next Step Maine Student Success Interview.