Motivation and inclusiveness are qualities that Western Nevada College sophomore Maira Ibarra has applied to her college experience. They may also be the reason that she has been awarded the Nevada System of Higher Education 2012 Regents' Scholarship for WNC. The $5,000 award will help her continue her education beyond WNC.
Ibarra, who enrolled at Western in fall 2010, is the first member of her family to pursue a bachelor's degree. With her parents' education curtailed prematurely, Ibarra has been motivated to obtain her degree, not only for personal achievement, but to reward her parents. She is quick to credit others for her academic success.
"I've had a lot of help from the college's Latino cohort, and I couldn't have done it without the support of my parents," said Ibarra, a 2010 graduate of Carson High School. "Without all that they have given me, I wouldn't be here today."
Ibarra is on track to graduate from WNC this spring with an Associate of Science degree. In her final months at Western, she is already enrolled in some classes at the University of Nevada, Reno, where she will study to become a civil engineer.
Ibarra said she was given valuable direction and inspiration as a member of the first Latino Cohort, a group of WNC students who meet regularly with college staff and one another, support each other in their studies, and do extra enrichment to help them succeed academically.
"At first, she was very introverted," said Lupe Ramirez, WNC's executive assistant for the dean of Student Services, as well a Latino cohort coach and an advisor for the Latino Student Club.
"Initially, I didn't know if she would become engaged in the process. Then she got comfortable, and she's one of those individuals who have excelled tremendously. She's inspirational to the rest of the Latino cohort members and other students."
Ibarra's involvement at WNC has reached beyond her personal academic course work. She has been secretary for the Latino Student Club, a tutor at the Academic Skills Center, a member of the Latino Cohort, and vice president of Phi Theta Kappa honor society.
"I love being part of the college because it keeps me more focused in my studies," Ibarra said. "I plan to do so as well at the University of Nevada, Reno and continue to be involved in my community after graduation."
That social awareness and quality of caring for others is just beginning, Ramirez said.
"She likes to work for a variety of groups and enjoys interacting with those other than her comfort group. She likes to explore," Ramirez said. "She wants to make sure her peers are moving along, which is a beautiful thing."
"They picked the most-deserving student for this award, in my point of view," Ramirez said.
Eaglemark Savings Bank Helps Fund WNC Scholarships
Eaglemark Savings Bank, a wholly owned subsidiary of Harley-Davidson Financial Services, has committed $15,000 to support Western Nevada College initiatives and scholarships. Eaglemark has allocated $5,000 to support the WNC Bridge to Success program, and $10,000 to WNC scholarships for Carson City individuals with low and moderate income.
"Harley-Davidson Financial Services has been an ardent supporter of WNC over the years, and we are extremely grateful for their commitment to creating opportunities for our students and in doing so, strengthening our community," says Amy Ginder, WNC director of development.
Sean Davison, director of Consumer Credit and Risk Management at Harley-Davidson Financial Services, believes it is their duty to help build Nevada's workforce.
"As a large employer in Carson City, we rely on a competent and educated workforce," says Davison. "As an organization, we are a committed to investing in the communities in which we live and work."
The donation includes $5,000 that will allow the college to hire student ambassadors to support Bridge to Success, an outreach program that guides high school students through the transition to college.
Katie Leao, WNC's Bridge to Success advisor, says that both current WNC students and those new to college will benefit from this donation.
"Our student ambassadors represent the college when we visit the high schools, and they learn valuable skills in advising and mentoring. In turn, new students learn what to expect at WNC from someone they can relate to," she says.
The Bridge to Success program helps prepares approximately 450 students for college each year. Students receive assistance with the application and registration process, and are offered orientations to ensure that they are prepared for the first day of classes. Leao and WNC student ambassadors are visiting local high schools now, in preparation for the fall 2012-spring 2013 academic year.
A $10,000 scholarship donation will make the dream of attending college a reality for some Carson City students with financial need.
Applications are being accepted for the Eaglemark Savings Bank Scholarship and all WNC Foundation scholarships now through Sunday, April 1, for the 2012-2013 academic year. To apply: www.wnc.edu/studentservices/financial/funding-scholarships.php
Easter Fiesta Offers Family Fun
The Western Nevada College Latino Student Club will present the third annual Easter Fiesta, Saturday, April 7, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., at Rotary Plaza, WNC Carson City. The event includes games, prizes, egg coloring and an egg hunt. The Wildcat mascot will be available for photos; be sure to bring a camera. There will be activities for children of all ages. Admission is $4 per child; children under 5 are free. Event proceeds help fund scholarships. For information: 445-3344.