2015 Next Step Maine Scholarship Fund
The third annual Next Step Maine Scholarship fund received received 25 complete applications (each application included an employer nomination letter and employee nominee statement). These 25 applications represented 16 different companies and 10 counties.
12 Employees of Promise were awarded a Next Step Maine Scholarship. These 12 recipients represent 11 different employers, 7 different counties, and 11 different educational institutions. See below for details. $16,900 in Scholarship Funds were awarded.
Each recipient embodies the spirit of the Next Step Maine Scholarship Program – passionate adult learners committed to their work, their families, and life-long learning while working to advance their education and complete their degree. The nomination process shows employer commitment and highlights the great work our Next Step Maine Employers, committed organizations enrolled in the statewide Next Step Maine Employers’ Initiative, are doing to enhance Maine’s workforce.
Many Thanks to our 2015 Partners & Sponsors
The 2015 Scholarship Program is made possible by generous donations and partnership support from the Maine Community Foundation, Bangor Savings Bank, Maine Chapter Association for Talent Development, Doyle & Nelson, Pratt & Whitney, Reny’s, Saint Joseph’s College, Skowhegan Savings Bank, University of Maine System, and SHRM Maine State Council. Special thanks to The Next Step Maine Employers’ Initiative Advisory Council and the Scholarship Review Committee.
2015 Awards Recognition Event – June 23, 2015
Each year, we hold a Scholarship Awardee Recognition Event to honor the scholarship winners and their employers. The 2015 NSM Scholarship Award Recognition event was held on Tuesday, June 23rd at 7:30 am at the Senator Inn in Augusta.
House Manager, Granite Bay Care, Portland, Cumberland County
Pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree at Husson University
Originally from Sudan, Ben Arthur has been employed by Granite Bay Care, Inc. since 2007, supporting the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities and mental health issues. He is a tireless advocate for those in his care, and is constantly trying to improve their lives and increase their independence. “Through hard work and perseverance, I managed to put my elder daughter in college and my second child is on his way to college next year. I promised myself to keep on striving to reach my goal to finish my own bachelor’s degree as well.” – Ben Arthur
Administrative Coordinator, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Cumberland County
Pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree at Bowdoin College
Lisa is the first point of contact for Bowdoin College’s Dining Department and projects an exceptionally high level of professionalism and commitment to customer service. Steadily working on her degree, she will be the first one in her family to a Bachelor’s degree. “Most lunch hours and breaks at work, you can find me doing homework…I am grateful to have had a lot of support from my Director and co-workers.” – Lisa Bouffard.
Direct Support Professional, Spurwink Services, Portland, Cumberland County
Pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Southern Maine
A Direct Support Professional, Daniel “is intelligent respectful, and has just the right amount of patience and nurturing abilities required to implement individual program needs to each client. His is never self-serving at his duties and makes ongoing suggestions toward the implementation of program and rehabilitation plans for each of the men in his charge. In addition to his full-time position at Spurwink, he maintains a full schedule at the University of Southern Maine. He is extremely adaptable and well-liked by his work partners.” – Phil Nagem, Residential Supervisor, Spurwink Services.
Animal Use Specialist, The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, Hancock County
Pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree at Husson University
Brenna Fenton is a role model to five children and encourages and supports them in all of their endeavors. “Brenna is motivated and hungry to learn new things that will add to her skill set and help her in bot her personal life and professional career. I plan to support her through her academic career and beyond as she is a valuable member of my team and the JAX community.” Kirstin Blanchette, Manager, Animal Welfare & Compliance, The Jackson Laboratory. “I love to learn, and for me that is what life is about, always growing and learning. I don’t want to be static, I always want to be evolving and trying to better myself. I want to be the best me I can be so that I can contribute to my company and most of to my family.” – Brenna Fenton.
Account Manager Assistant, Allen Insurance and Financial, Camden, Knox County
Pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree at The University of Maine
“Stephanie has never turned away from any challenge but rather meets goals and earns the right to ask for more responsibility. Her role continues to grow and change, at both her initiative and ours. Stephanie is an individual who personifies achievement.” – Jean Dutch, Chief Operating Officer, Allen Insurance & Financial. In addition to pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree at UMA, Stephanie acquired her property and casualty producer license in 2011 and is working toward an accreditation of Accredited Customer Service Representative. “Schooling will always be on my list of things to do as I consider myself a life learner and constantly look for opportunities to gain and share knowledge… I have a great job and I attribute my success to the lessons I have learned in my schooling thus far. Stephanie will be the first in her family to graduate from College.” – Stephanie Griffin
Treasury Director/Treasurer, City of Lewiston, Androscoggin County
Pursuing an Associate’s Degree at Central Main Community College
Twelve years after dropping out of high school, Pamela received her GED. Twenty-four years after that, she enrolled in college to pursue an Accounting Degree. She has received the President’s Honors four semesters out of six and is determined to succeed. Although Pam has not possessed a formal education and formal accounting training, her positive interaction with her colleagues and peers, exemplary work ethic, attention to detail, ability to absorb tasks quickly and embrace challenges, and sheer determination to succeed, made her the successful candidate for many new positions with the City of Lewiston’s office. “I’ve witnessed her assume new roles, revamp processes, and excel at completely foreign job functions that far exceeded my expectations. She is a level headed employee who’s intellect and diverse background facilitate problem solving skills. Pam’s creative ambition is such that she will persevere through the [degree] program and finish in the top of her class.” – Heather Hunter, Finance Director/Treasurer, City of Lewiston.
COO/HR Director, YMCA of Auburn-Lewiston, Auburn, Androscoggin County
Pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree from College of America – Southern New Hampshire University
A passionate and committed YMCA of Auburn-Lewiston Employee, Mary Murphy has worked her way up from desk clerk to the Chief Operating Officer/HR Director. Over her 27 years at the YMCA, she has positively impacted thousands of children and families in the greater L/A area. She is an avid reader and life-long learner, always looking for ways to increase her own abilities. Yet at the same time, she is very unselfish with the things she learns. She actively spends time mentoring her other Y staff to become better leaders and manager in their own right. She also applies the things she learns to the organization as a whole – always looking out for the Y’s mission and members over self-promotion or gain. Her organizational ability is exceptional…her passionate approach to the Y, its staff, and its members, is nothing short of outstanding.” – Steve Wallace, CEO, YMCA of Auburn-Lewiston.
Direct Support Professional, Spurwink Services, Portland, Cumberland County
Just completed an Associate’s Degree in May 2015 from Southern Maine Community College and is now pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree at University of Southern Maine
Joseph Mushishi is committed to education and to supporting the learning of those around him. Originally from Democratic Republic of Congo, Joseph fled to a refugee camp in Burundi in 2004. Within the refugee camp, there were no jobs, no education, and no prospects. Not willing to give up hope, Joseph asked other young people within the camp who had high school diplomas, some college experience, or degrees to work together to create a school for the young children of the camp. Despite many challenges, in 2006 they opened the school. He taught in the school for three years with no salary so that the children in the camp could have an education. Four years ago he came to the United States and began working for Spurwink. Now married with two young children, Joseph is a dedicated hard-working employee who is pursuing his own schooling despite the financial and time obstacles. This Spring, he graduated with an Associate’s Degree and is transferring to USM to continue on for his Bachelor’s degree. “In order to advance his career here at Spurwink, Joseph needs a higher level of education…He arrived at Spurwink four years ago as a single man and I have watched him continue to stay committed to Spruwink and to his work as he married and then created a family. His dedication to his job tells me that he is an employee worth investing in.” – Maggie Zach, Program Manager, Spurwick Services. Prior to coming to Spurwink and immigrating to the US, Joseph
Substance Abuse Counselor, Tri-County Mental Health Services, Yarmouth, Cumberland County
Pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree from Kaplan University
Danielle, married with an 8 year old daughter and a new infant, “has stood out as an employee from the day she started. She comes with drive, passion and a true desire to help people.” – Nicole Garant, Substance Abuse Program Manager, Tri-County Mental Health Services. “Being an employee here encouraged me to re-enroll in Kaplan to finish my Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice. As a Substance Abuse Counselor, I am constantly engaged with the criminal justice system with my clients. The knowledge I have gained from my education has served my clients well. It has opened doors for me to have productive working relationship with local police departments and the state probation and parole office… My education has gotten my where I am today. I want to continue to expand my knowledge and help provide services to the public.” – Danielle Rideout.
Coordinator of Geriatric Services, Charles A. Dean Memorial Hospital, Greenville, Piscataquis County
Pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Maine Augusta
A mother of two and a community volunteer, Sandy began her career at Charles A. Dean Memorial Hospital (CA Dean) as a CNA. During her time as a CNA her annual reviews were glowing – “above and beyond” and “hard worker” were constantly found in these reviews. Sandy was chose to lead the development of a new service line at CA Dean, Geriatric Services. Now, as the coordinator of this department, instrumental in growing this department, she has chosen to continue her education to obtain her Bachelor’s degree in nursing. “She is committed to her patients, this position, and works tirelessly to keep her patient and CA Dean’s best interests at heart….The reason why Sandy should be supported in expanding her education is that she would be the first choice of many to care for their family. When someone is singled out and sought in this way, it speaks volumes…she is one of the kindest most caring people you could meet.” – Jennifer Goodrich, VP & CFO, Charles A. Dean Memorial Hospital
Health Coach Medical Assistant, Penobscot Community Health Center, Bangor, Penobscot County
Pursuing an Associate’s Degree at Eastern Maine Community College
“Danielle constantly exceeds expectations and brings a level of dedication that is unsurpassed…she is always willing to help others and constantly goes above and beyond her job description.” – Mark Delcourt, Practice Director, Penobscot Community Health Center.
Overcoming many life obstacles, her passion for helping people leads her commitment to continuing her education and supporting PCHC’s patients. A single mother of an 8 year-old, Danielle works closely with Registered Nurses giving her hands-on experience with assisting in the process of improving people’s lives. “Being in these positions has made me strive to be more involved in the process and that is why I have decided to return to college and expand my education.” – Danielle Thompson. Upon graduation, Danielle plans to continue her career goals within PCHC by becoming a Nurse Care Manager within the organization. On the side, Danielle has founded Wicked Tasty Treats through which she sells her highly praised and delicious deserts and cookies.
Juana Rodriguez Vazquez
Program Assistant, Hand in Hand/Mano en Mano, Milbridge, Washington County
Pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Maine at Machias
First arriving in the US at age five, Juana, originally from Mexico, traveled back and forth between Florida to Michigan, changing from one school to another. It was not until 1999 that she moved to Milbridge, Maine where she lives today, and attended and graduated from Narraguagus High School. She worked hard to learn English and excel in her studies while working with EDGE and Mano En Mano helping and tutoring other students. “I now have my own house in Milbridge, a wonderful husband, and a son, and want to pursue my career in Education at UMM. I have set my goal to get a degree in Education and become a teacher.” – Juana Rodriguez Vazquez. At this spring’s National Migrant Education Conference, Juana was awarded the 2015 Vida A. Rivera, Jr. Award – an award that recognizes one parent each year from across the United States who demonstrates model parental involvement behavior and exceptional commitment to and support of their children’s education through personal sacrifice. “Juana is an outstanding staff member at Mano en Mano, a young leader in the Latino Community in Washington County, and a dedicated parent.” – Ian Yaffe, Executive Director, Mano en Mano
Learn more about the Next Step Maine Scholarship Program and view past year’s information.