Change a Life Scholarship Impacts a Community
By Kirsten Slyter on 04/30/2019
Referring your friend to a restaurant or an exercise class is easy and relatively inexpensive. But let’s think bigger. Would you refer your friend to a college? Higher education is generally considered by many to be expensive, time-consuming and perhaps unattainable.
The Change a Life Scholarship at Rasmussen College can help your friends and loved ones reach their personal and professional goals. The scholarship is awarded to new Rasmussen College students who were referred by a current student or graduate. The incoming student receives up to $1,000 to invest in their pursuit of any program offered by the college.
After learning about the scholarship, Rasmussen College student Christiann Scofield was motivated to help her friends and family pursue their educational goals. Her positive experience in the Medical Administrative Assistant program led her to refer seven of her friends, coworkers and family members, all of whom ended up enrolling in various programs at Rasmussen College.
Though the scholarship covers only a portion of their total tuition, Scofield says it feels great to do what she can for her loved ones, knowing that “every bit helps.”
Giving the gift of education
Two of Scofield’s referrals included Sian Marquardt and Kristina Loken, both assistant teachers at Wewinabi Early Education School where Scofield also worked as a lead teacher. While Loken and Marquardt both really enjoyed working there, they were looking for something more.
Loken had always wanted to work in the medical field but didn’t have any education beyond high school. “Every few years my mom kept telling me, ‘You really should go back to college,’” Loken says. “I kept telling her, ‘Mom, I’m too old to go back to school.’”
Besides, Loken never really enjoyed school and struggled in high school. “The thought of going back freaked me out,” she says. But after watching Scofield working full-time, taking care of her children, going to school and loving it, she wondered whether she could do that too.
After working with an admissions counselor to make sense of the financing options—scholarships, grants and loans, Loken felt empowered. “The Change a Life Scholarship made the process manageable,” she says. “I knew I wouldn’t have to pay too much, which made my decision a lot easier.”
Loken chose to pursue her Medical Administrative Assistant Certificate, which teaches students the essentials of healthcare and administrative skills to work as a medical secretary or a medical administrative assistant.
Marquardt was also inspired by Scofield and her passion for education, both for herself and her students. She loved working with children so when a position opened up at the school, she knew she needed to apply. Working as an assistant teacher sparked her desire to run her own classroom. But in order to do that, she knew she needed a degree.
Another assistant teacher was applying for the position as well, so Marquardt decided to enroll in the Early Childhood Education (ECE) program at Rasmussen College immediately. She knew exactly what she wanted, and this program had the ability to help her get there.
Setting an example
The online courses make it possible for both Loken and Marquardt to be successful moms and students simultaneously. They both love the flexibility of online learning. “As a single mom, I don’t get much time to do anything or even leave my house,” Loken says. “I can log in at 10p.m., 11:00 p.m., midnight or whenever I have time.”
Though completing courses online can come with a learning curve, Scofield used her experience to help Marquardt navigate the online courses. Once she did, “it became really easy,” Marquardt says.
Though the coursework was challenging and nights were often late, Loken and Marquardt are both motivated to keep going. Loken set out to prove to herself that she can do it. When she feels stressed or tired, she remembers her kids. She’s always told them their education comes first, but now she’s intent on proving it. “I mean it for myself too,” Loken says.
Marquardt is motivated by her children as well. “They’re really proud of me because they’re seeing if I can go to school and work full-time, it’s something they can achieve too,” she says.
Marquardt always keeps her original goal at the forefront of her mind: to become a lead teacher. As she’s continued through the program, she’s able to make direct connections between her schoolwork and her day job. “I love what I’m learning,” she says.
Staying the course
Though the beginning of their college journeys was challenging and took some adjustment, Marquardt and Loken both realized that they their goals were attainable.
“I wasn’t even sure about … going to college until after the first semester,” Loken admits. But she was thrilled to have received top-notch grades. “I was really proud of myself,” she says. “I realized I could do it.”
Marquardt experienced severe anxiety when she started college. For the first month, she arrived at work in tears almost every day. Relying on her husband and Scofield for support, the stress began dissipating once she received her first assignments back with stellar marks. “I was feeling better and proud of myself,” she says.
The faculty support and student resources also made the process easier. Instructors checked in with them and always welcomed questions. “If I ever needed anything, there was always someone I could turn to,” Loken says.
Proof of positive changes
Upon earning her Medical Administrative Assistant Certificate in August 2018, Loken decided to continue on her educational path by pursuing a Healthcare Associate’s degree at Rasmussen College. Once armed with this degree, she hopes to draw on her passion for mothers and infants as an administrator in an OB-GYN or maternity ward.
Marquardt is currently set to graduate in February 2019 and has accepted a position as a lead teacher at Wewinabi Early Education. At work, she’s already been utilizing the skills she’s learned to act as a leader. “I feel comfortable addressing what I see with more authority,” she says.
Both women now see the value of going back to school, even when it seems tough. They’re grateful for Scofield’s example and reference.
“If anyone is thinking about going back to school, just do it,” Loken says. “Rasmussen College is a great place! I love the school and the options. There’s so much help out there for you.”
Change a life today
It’s clear that Christiann Scofield has made a lasting impression on the lives of her coworkers. If you’re inspired by her commitment to helping empower the lives of others, learn more about how to nominate the future college students in your life—visit the Change a Life Scholarship page.
If you’re considering following in the footsteps of these inspiring women by going back to school yourself, check out our article, “Should I Go Back to School? 4 Questions to Help You Find Your Answer.”