COEHD undergraduate Domarie Zayas wins national Hispanic scholarship
By Pam Wood
Coordinator of Undergraduate Student Services, College of Education and Human Development
(June 5, 2007)--Domarie Zayas, an interdisciplinary studies major seeking certification to become a fourth to eighth grade ESL math, science and social studies teacher, recently received a $2,500 scholarship from the Hispanic Scholarship Fund for the spring 2007 semester.
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Excited to be a recipient of this national award, Zayas sees it as an affirmation of the effort and sacrifice that has gone into obtaining her degree. It is like harvesting in advance some of the financial benefits that will come once she is a teacher.
She learned about the opportunity through one of the scholarship e-mail alerts that are regularly sent out by the College of Education and Human Development to students interested in applying for scholarships. A national scholarship targeting Hispanic students, the HSF College Scholarship application process involved gathering a number of documents as well as responding to required essay questions.
Although Zayas met the eligibility criteria for the scholarship, she also was a busy, full-time student with a young family to care for. Was it really worth her while to spend the time preparing an application packet when she would be competing with other students from across the country?
Realizing that the worst that could happen was that she would not win, she decided that the chance to receive up to $5,000 for school was worth the try. For two weeks she gathered transcripts, financial aid paperwork and letters of reference. After completing the application form and her essay responses, she mailed her packet just in time to meet the Oct. 15 deadline.
Zayas attributes winning the award to her essays, her high grade point average and the fact that she has been active in professional development outside of the classroom as a member of the ATE Teacher Academy Learning Community.
But, there were several other factors that contributed to her success. She had already honed her essay writing skills by applying for other scholarships. However, the most significant reason she won, was the simplest one. She took the time to apply and met the application deadline.
Many students talk themselves out of applying for scholarships that they could easily win. Even if you don't win, you have learned more about the process, practiced essay-writing skills and gathered the courage to approach a professor for a letter of reference. If you win, you have built self-confidence and opened another door to a successful future.