Meet the Interns: Ellen
Walking into the JRF office feels like walking into someone’s home. Tasteful décor greets you, sprinkled among inviting pieces of furniture, and a refreshing sense of peace. When I first stepped inside this office, it was just a few weeks ago, in early June, and I was nervous. The typical anxieties of a new intern filled my mind: Would my supervisor like me? Was I qualified enough to be here? Is my outfit all right?
Now it is nearly July, and I have spent a handful of afternoons in this pleasant office working with the warmest collection of individuals. I have enjoyed the cheerful, encouraging attitude the staff at JRF has toward their work and one another (interns included!) and the interesting projects I have worked on so far. By far, my favorite activity has been writing the new bio paragraphs for the 2014-2015 JRF scholars. In completing this project, I have had the opportunity to read the personal statements of dozens of scholars and each story and voice has leaped from the computer screen. Trying to condense the lives of these women into a few sentences has been a challenging task. Most of the time, I feel like copying the entire essay and submitting that as their bio instead, as I could never begin to compete with the energy and passion of their writing.
Additionally, I also have the opportunity to moderate the scholar and alumnae Facebook group, another wonderful way to get to know these inspiring and strong women. Their insightful posts about their classes, careers, and families hints at the beautiful way these scholars see life—as an experience they can own and shape for themselves in spite of any obstacles that might say otherwise. I have already learned one important thing about these women: they are fighters. When life pushes them, they hold tighter to their textbooks and they push back.
I am confident that my internship here at JRF has impacted my plans for the future. This fall, I will begin my senior year at Carroll University in Wisconsin, double-majoring in Professional Writing and Global Studies. My work with non-profits like JRF has broadened my perspective of the world and prompted me to consider a career helping others to pursue a better life for themselves. For now, I look forward to finishing my summer here and soaking up every bit of inspiration and determination that I can from this experience!
Currently attending Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin, Ellen studies both Professional Writing and Global Studies. In addition to her schoolwork, she is an active member of the social justice club on campus, speaks to underclassmen as a Study Abroad Ambassador, and works as a writing tutor.
Two New Nursing Students
The hard work of selecting scholars is over, and the exciting work of preparing to send out scholarship checks is beginning. Two applicants that rose to the top during selection happen to be enrolled at the same school in the same program!
Pamela and Sandroe are studying Nursing at Athens Technical College, and their perseverance and goal-oriented approach to school made them stand out. Athens Tech was excited about this news, as well, and published an article about the two students. Click here to read it in full.
A big thank you to the volunteers and donors who make these scholarships possible. There are 87 incredible women receiving help to go to school and conquer poverty in 2014.
“Women selected for Jeannette Rankin scholarships are hard-working individuals who are attending college, keeping up with jobs and volunteer work in their communities, and caring for their families,” said Sue Lawrence, Executive Director for Jeannette Rankin Fund. “Sandroe and Pamela are great examples of women who are juggling a lot of responsibility and succeeding. They are very determined and persistent.”
A single mother with five children, Sandroe spent the last eight years working as a waitress at a Waffle House restaurant. She enrolled at Athens Tech fall semester of 2011 to begin her quest for becoming a nurse. This past March, she left the Waffle House and has devoted her time to her academics.
Sandroe said: “My ultimate goal is to one day be a nurse specializing in behavioral health, and of course, I would like to volunteer some of my free time at the Mercy Health Center that helps those who don’t have medical insurance with their healthcare needs. I feel extremely blessed to have been chosen to receive the Jeannette Rankin Scholarship.”
In 2010, an oven burner ignited Pamela's husband’s clothing, and the resulting fire severely burned him. His treatment and recuperation through the burn clinic at Doctors Hospital in Augusta took nearly a year, and during that time, Jones got hands-on training from the nurses about how to treat her husband’s wounds and how to change his bandaging. The nurses were so impressed with Jones’ learning skills and abilities that they encouraged her to attend nursing school. She enrolled at Athens Technical College in 2012 to prepare for the Nursing program.
Lumina Foundation has been working with people and organizations across the country to increase the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees and credentials to 60% by the year 2025.
“We must continue to focus on approaches that make higher education more accessible and affordable for all. We also must ensure that all students who come to college graduate with meaningful, high-quality degrees and credentials that enable them to contribute to the workforce, improve society and provide for themselves and their families.”
As an organization that has been increasing access to college for low-income women 35 and older since 1976, we completely agree!
We’re in the middle of selecting 2014 Jeannette Rankin scholars, but here are some facts about the incredible women we’ve been working with during the last year:
- 73.6% identify as head of household
- 50.6% are the first in their families to attend college
- The average household income is $23,185.01 with an average household size of 3
According to the most recent report, issued by Lumina in April 2014 and using 2012 numbers, 39.4% of working age Americans (25-54) have a two or four year college degree. This is up .7% from last year’s report.
The numbers are increasing, but more has to be done to achieve Goal 2025. To build collaboration between organizations working on attaining this goal, Lumina just launched a social network called MoveED.
"MoveED for Goal 2025 brings together, on a single map, organizations that are committed to making attainment America’s cause — especially for low-income students, students of color, first-generation students and adult learners."
We're excited about the work being done across the country to increase access to higher education! Thank you to all our supporters who continue to encourage, strengthen and grow Jeannette Rankin Fund's impact!
Press Release: Battelle donates eight scholarships for low-income women in STEM fields
Athens, Ga. – The Atlanta branch of Battelle, an Ohio based nonprofit research company, awarded a $20,000 grant to Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund to provide scholarships and support to eight low-income women 35 and older.
The women will each receive $2,000 scholarships to support them toward their technical and undergraduate programs. These awards are designated for women entering STEM fields – science, technology, engineering and math – areas where women are underrepresented.
A former recipient of a Battelle Award, Rhonda, recently graduated with her Master’s in Geography and is now working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
“I was working at a hotel aquarium at the top limits of position and earning potential. Now I am in a position with unlimited upward movement and earning potential,” Rhonda said.
“Battelle’s generous gift to Jeannette Rankin Fund will have a profound and lasting impact on the lives of the women we serve. The U.S. has an urgent and growing need for women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and thanks to Battelle, eight women will build futures in these fields,” Tracey Worthington Stice, Chief Operating Officer of ArunA Biomedical and Jeannette Rankin Fund Board Member, said.
“We’re very excited that Battelle is sponsoring women toward their college degrees in STEM careers so they may become financially secure and contribute to the U.S. economy,” Sue Lawrence, executive director of Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund, said.
Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund was founded in 1976 and provides scholarships and support for low-income women 35 and older to build better lives through college completion. In 2014, 87 women are receiving scholarships of $2,000 each, which can be used for books, childcare, transportation, utilities, rent, or where needed most to support women while in school. Awards may be renewed for up to five years, so a woman can receive up to $10,000. Jeannette Rankin scholars come from diverse backgrounds, yet they are united in their desire to break the cycle of poverty, better provide for their families and give back to their communities. To learn more about Jeannette Rankin Fund, visit www.rankinfoundation.org.
Battelle is the world’s largest nonprofit research and development organization, with over 22,000 employees at more than 130 locations globally. A 501(c)(3) charitable trust, Battelle was founded on industrialist Gordon Battelle’s vision that business and scientific interests can go hand-in-hand as forces for positive change. Today, Battelle manages the world’s leading national laboratories and maintains a contract research portfolio spanning consumer and industrial, energy and environment, health and pharmaceutical and national security. To learn more about Battelle, visit www.battelle.org.
Moving to an online application and review
Here at JRF, we’re excited to announce that we’ve just wrapped up our 36th scholarship application cycle and are about to begin the application review process. Last year, this involved sorting and screening more than 700 paper applications, organizing and distributing the eligible applications to teams of reviewers then sorting everything again when those reviewers were finished.
All told, JRF staff spent an estimated 116 hours coordinating the application review process. And that’s just on our end! Women downloaded paper applications from our website and often completed the application by hand. Because we required two copies, they either photocopied their entire application or transcribed a second copy by hand before organizing everything, driving it to the post office and sending it to us.
Often, applicants asked the same question we were asking ourselves: Can’t this be done online? This year, thanks to a generous grant, we made that happen.
Transitioning to an online scholarship application shows that the need for support for low-income, non-traditional students is tremendous—more than 3,700 women signed up on the new application system, and more than 1,500 of those women started applications! In total, 694 women submitted applications for Jeannette Rankin Fund scholarships for 2014. We are proud to provide scholarships and support to 87 applicants
, and continue to work hard to serve more women who want to conquer poverty.
The online application process has already saved staff and volunteers over 30 hours of work, and we know the new system will only continue to increase our efficiency. Application review will take place online from March until May and gives us the opportunity to reach out to volunteers and supporters on a national scale, introduce more people to our mission, and help more women build better lives through college completion.
Moving online is a huge step forward, and we’re grateful to supporters across the country for making it possible. Thank you!