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2013-2014 Scholarship Recipients

Evangelista HimelyEvangelista Himely
Attending Housatonic Community College
Field of Interest: Criminal Justice
CONNTAC Representative: Karen Touch

Evangelista is a Criminal Justice major at Housatonic Community College. She is one of four children raised by a single parent, and she plans to be the first in her family to graduate from college. She has remained on the Dean’s list while juggling a full-time job and being a single parent herself. Upon completing her Associate’s degree, she plans to transfer to Sacred Heart University to pursue a Bachelor’s degree and ultimately become a Probation Officer. Evangelista gives thanks to her CONNTAC Counselor, Karen Touch, for helping her with financial aid documents and scholarships. “Karen has been so helpful, understanding, and caring. I appreciate her taking the time out to answer all of my questions.” Evangelista shares that the scholarship will assist her with purchasing books and other necessities that are needed for college.


Deneen KellyDeneen Kelly
Attending Charter Oak State College
Field of Interest: Health Information Management
CONNTAC Representative: Erica Coleman

Deneen is an adult learner who has worked in the medical field for 30 years. After her divorce, she worked two jobs and volunteered in the community all while being a single mother. She is also working on overcoming bankruptcy, foreclosure, and rebuilding her credit. Deneen’s goals are to earn her degree, save for retirement, and help improve the efficiency and safety of the healthcare system. She is grateful to her CONNTAC Counselor, Erica Coleman, for providing her with a fee waiver and introducing her to this scholarship opportunity. Deneen explains that the scholarship will help ease the financial burden for her to further her education, including the cost of books and school supplies.


Ginamarie MazzuccoGinamarie Mazzucco
Attending University of Connecticut
Field of Interest: Human Development and Family Studies/ Psychology
CONNTAC Representative: Widelyne Moise

Ginamarie is currently double-majoring in Human Development & Family Studies and Psychology, at the University of Connecticut. She plans to go on to graduate school to study Social Work upon completing her Bachelor’s degree. Her ultimate goal is to work for the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and then the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), investigating violent crime or civil rights violations against young children. Ginamarie is a participant in Project Academic Advancement, a member of the Future Educators’ Club, and she holds a job on campus as a fitness/ kickboxing instructor. She credits her CONNTAC Counselor, Widelyne Moise, for assisting her with completing her financial aid application. “Many of my scholarship and grant opportunities would not have been as easily accessible without Widelyne’s assistance. My family has greatly benefited from the ‘miracle work’ of Widelyne.” Ginamarie shares that the scholarship will help her avoid taking out another student loan.


Alejandro OrtegaAlejandro Ortega
Attending University of South Carolina
Field of Interest: Chemistry
CONNTAC Representative: Arlette Taylor

Alejandro transferred from Naugatuck Valley Community College and is now in his first semester at the University of South Carolina. At the age of fifteen, his late father and his mother were divorced. Following the divorce, he moved back to Mexico with his mother and his brother in hopes of a fresh start. Unfortunately, his mother began to battle with depression, so Alejandro worked full-time at a night club at 15 years of age to provide for his family. Once he returned to the United States, he completed his high school education at Waterbury Adult Education and graduated as the Valedictorian of his class. While at Naugatuck Valley Community College, he was a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, President’s Circle, and he worked in the Tutoring Center. He thanks his CONNTAC Counselor, Arlette Taylor, for waiving his application fees. Alejandro says that the scholarship will bring him one step closer to being able to fund his education and pursue his dream of becoming a Chemist.


Jeanette PachecoJeanette Pacheco
Attending Naugatuck Valley Community College
Field of Interest: Respiratory Therapy
CONNTAC Representative: Arlette Taylor

Jeanette dreams of becoming a Respiratory Therapist, making a difference in the lives of others on an everyday basis. She admits that although her single mother tried her best to give her and her brother a good life, she hung out with the wrong crowd and got into trouble a great deal. She became a teen mother, and subsequently dropped out of high school. Later, Jeanette attended Waterbury Adult Education and earned her high school diploma in 2006. She has also done volunteer work at New Britain General Hospital. She expresses gratitude to her CONNTAC Counselor, Arlette Taylor, for helping her with her financial aid application and for encouraging her to continue her education and earn a degree. “Ms. Arlette Taylor is a fantastic woman. She gave me tips and support on solving problems and making good decisions.” Jeanette explains that the scholarship will assist with the cost of tuition.


Bhumikaben PatelBhumikaben Patel
Attending Tunxis Community College
Field of Interest: Nursing
CONNTAC Representative: Erica Coleman

Bhumikaben “Bhumi” Patel migrated to the United States with her family from India. She plans to make her parents proud and be the first in her family to graduate from college. She describes being a Nurse as her dream career because she will make a difference in the lives of others and provide miracles. She expresses extreme appreciation for her CONNTAC Counselor, Erica Coleman, for helping her with the college application and financial aid processes, step by step. “Erica is patient, delightful, and she helps students like they are her own children. She has encouraged me and helped me plan for my future.” Bhumi shares that the scholarship will assist her with college expenses.


Katy ScotellaKaty Scotella
Attending Central Connecticut State University
Field of Interest: English/ Creative Writing
CONNTAC Representative: Erica Coleman

Katy graduated from Tunxis Community College last year, and she is currently attending Central Connecticut State University. During her years at Tunxis, she was Theater Club President, Editor-in-Chief of the school newspaper, and President of the Student Government Association. Katy also experienced numerous health scares throughout her college journey that still remain present today. These health issues include Kidney problems, Fibromyalgia, Interstitial Cystitis, and a head-on collision that resulted in back and leg pain. Additionally, her mother is battling health issues as well, is unemployed, and unable to drive, so she works hard to take care of her too. Through all of her hardships, Katy holds school as her number one priority. In the future, Katy hopes to become a writer and also have her own column in a newspaper. She credits her CONNTAC Counselor, Erica Coleman, for assisting her with the financial aid process along with any concerns that she has had. “Erica has been assisting me for many years, and I am thankful for her and for all of the help that she has provided me.” Katy explains that the scholarship is a blessing, and it will help her with health bills, college textbooks, and supplies.


Umar ShahidUmar Shahid
Attending Gateway Community College
Field of Interest: Legal Assistant
CONNTAC Representative: Shontisha Kinchen-Askew

Umar is a student at Gateway Community College who has plans of ultimately becoming a Legal Assistant. He has made the Dean’s list and holds a commendable 3.7 GPA. Since being released from incarceration, Umar has been engaged in educational programs that provide information on adapting to social change. He understands the need to be informed and competitive in this diverse world and that the whole climate of learning and communicating has changed. He appreciates his CONNTAC Counselor, Shontisha Kinchen-Askew, for assisting him with filing the financial aid paperwork, waiving fees, and encouraging him to pursue his dream of earning a degree. “Shontisha helped my transition from the jail cell to the classroom go smoothly.” Umar shares that the scholarship will help him purchase a computer that will be an essential component in obtaining information.


Edna VelasquezEdna Velasquez
Attending Norwalk Community College
Field of Interest: Social Work
CONNTAC Representative: Laura Blackwell

Upon earning her Associate’s degree at Norwalk Community College, Edna plans to transfer to a university and earn a Bachelor’s degree. She aspires to become a Social Worker so that she can provide professional help to those in need. She has overcome many obstacles, including a language barrier and having to work hard to support herself after moving from her parents’ home due to family problems. However, she is determined to keep pushing forward and working hard to accomplish all of her goals. She expresses sincere gratitude for her CONNTAC Counselor, Laura Blackwell, for guiding her through the application and financial aid processes. “Mrs. Blackwell has told me to stay focused on what I want in life. She has been very supportive, and I want to make Mrs. Blackwell proud and for her to know that her time spent with me was worth it.” Edna explains that the scholarship will help her financially because she is on her own with her academic pursuits. She also plans to purchase a computer to aid in completing her homework and projects.

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