Mary McDonald of Almont, Michigan, was awarded the CSU Knight Scholarship. She currently works for a community mental health organization.
“I have a heart for children in foster care and families that have experienced trauma,” she said. “My husband and I were foster parents for about two and a half years, and I feel drawn to families that have experienced that trauma, especially the children.”
With this scholarship, McDonald hopes to earn her bachelor’s degree in psychology at CSU in order to work within the mental health community.
“A degree from Columbia Southern University will help me achieve this goal by giving me a foundation of knowledge to use while helping others,” she said. “It will also enable me to work directly with adults and children while helping them navigate various supports that they may need. Most importantly, it’ll give me the bachelor level degree to be able to enter a Master of Social Work program.”
Kelly Bowman of Seabrook, Texas, is the recipient of the CSU Learning Partner Scholarship. Bowman is currently a lieutenant with the Pasadena Police Department.
“There is a serious need for ‘culturally competent’ therapists to help officers who struggle with the many traumatic experiences encountered in a 30-year career,” she said. “My goal is to be able to help bridge that gap once I retire.”
With this scholarship, Bowman plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in psychology at CSU.
“My future goal is to become assistant chief of police. In order to attain that goal, I have to complete my bachelor’s degree,” she said. “After promoting to lieutenant, I was tasked with two projects. The first was to re-vamp our defunct peer support group. The second was to bring mental health resiliency training to the police department.”
Katie Steklasa of Henderson, Nevada, is the recipient of the CSU Learning Partner Scholarship. She is currently employed with the Henderson Fire Department.
“I am fortunate to serve on the executive team of the Henderson Fire Department where I have the opportunity to hear and learn from several of the smartest leaders around.”
With this scholarship, she plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership at CSU.
“My life experiences have prepared me for a degree in organizational leadership in several ways,” she said. “I dove right into working full time at 18 years old after working part time at 16. I still work for this organization, the City of Henderson, going on 17 years now. It’s from leaders, both good and bad, that I have learned everything I know, and I know I still have so much to learn.”
For more information about Columbia Southern University’s scholarships, visit ColumbiaSouthern.edu/Scholarships.