PBSC alums win scholarships worth $200K for grad school
The doors of educational opportunity continue to swing wide open for two Palm Beach State Honors College alumna who have been awarded their second scholarship from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, this time to cover up to $200,000 of their graduate school expenses.
Maria “Mili” Chapado, a 2012 A.A. degree graduate and Patricia Medina, a former student trustee and 2015 A.A. degree graduate, have each been awarded a Graduate Scholarship from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. The award will pay up to $50,000 a year for up to four years.
“It’s completely life changing,’’ said Chapado, who received her bachelor’s degree in political science from Florida State University in spring 2014 and went on to complete a two-year fellowship with Immigrant Justice Corps in New York, a national program that provides immigration assistance. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in public policy and then a career in immigration policy in the nonprofit or public sector. She has applied to several graduate programs and is waiting to see where she will be accepted.
Medina said she “cried again” upon receiving the news that she had won the continuing scholarship. “I’m so grateful,’’ said the aspiring human rights lawyer who will graduate from Stetson University in May with a bachelor’s degree in religious studies. She has applied to several law schools.
They were among 53 individuals awarded Graduate Scholarships in January from a pool of 75 applicants. The Graduate Scholarships are only open to previous winners of the Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship or College Scholarship, which they can use after receiving their bachelor’s degrees. Since 2002, 681 Graduate Scholars have been awarded $69 million. Chapado and Medina had each previously won Jack Kent Cooke Scholarships that paid up to $30,000 and $40,000, respectively, per year for two to three years to complete their bachelor’s degrees.
They said they owe much of their success to Palm Beach State, through which they learned about opportunities like the Cooke scholarships, as well as the staff and faculty who mentored and encouraged them.
“If it wasn’t for the Global Education Center, I wouldn’t have graduated in two years,’’ Chapado said, naming Dr. Jeannett Manzanero, director of the center; Dr. Regina Dilgen, an English professor; former PBSC professor Bobbette Wolensky and Marcella Montesinos, honors college manager, among those who supported her. “It was being in the right place at the right time and being around people who were invested in my growth as a student.”
Medina, who was student trustee for the 2014-2015 year, said like at Palm Beach State, she continues to be active on campus at Stetson, including leading clubs and organizations.
“Palm Beach State has given me so many opportunities. Palm Beach State completely changed my life and my family’s life,” said Medina, whose daughter, Mary, is now in her first year at the College. Her husband, Frank, who graduated last December with a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Supervision and Management, has juggled family responsibilities while she pursues her education. Her son, John, will graduate from high school this year. She said she also could not be successful without her family’s support.
Manzanero applauded both graduates and said she encourages all students to take advantage of opportunities that exists. “They’re go getters. They’re strong young ladies.”