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YWCA Women’s Economic Stability Partnership Scholarship Helps Florissant Valley Students

May 14, 2015

Christina Rose  
Christina Rose

At age 34, Christina Rose decided to better herself so she could find decent employment.

After obtaining her GED in 2011, Rose enrolled at St. Louis Community College unsure about her major. She was interested in the sciences but couldn’t decide.

After taking some general courses, Rose decided to pursue biotechnology.

“Biotechnology is a fast-growing science. With a degree in biotechnology, I can have several different employment options,” she said.  

As a single mother, Rose's biggest challenge was obtaining the funds to not only pay for school, but also to support her family. Rose found out about the YWCA Women’s Economic Stability Partnership (WESP) scholarship from Carla Jordan, Career and Technical Education Transition Specialist at STLCC. 

Rose had approached Jordan about applying for the displaced homemaker scholarship, because she wanted aid to cover the life science laboratory assistant courses. She then discovered that the scholarship would not cover any of these courses, and Jordan suggested applying for the YWCA WESP scholarship instead.

Based on YWCA WESP criteria, two career and technical education students from the Florissant Valley campus met their initial requirements. Rose and Rachel Festervand received the scholarships in August 2014.

“The YWCA WESP is an intensive, multi-year program for single, female heads-of-households to improve their long-term earning capability through education with an emphasis on non-traditional vocations for women,” said Genevieve Friedmann, life coach and case manager at YWCA Metro St. Louis.

Non-traditional occupations include automotive technology, architecture, biotechnology, culinary arts, construction management technology, computer integrated manufacturing, criminal justice, electrical/electronic engineering technology, horticulture, information systems, mechanical engineering technology and network engineering.

The goal for the scholarship is to reduce barriers single mothers face while enrolled in school. The scholarship pays for students to complete an associate degree and wrap around services such as childcare, transportation as well as one-on-one life coaching.

“I love the scholarship because it is a comprehensive scholarship. The YWCA WESP looks at the whole educational experience rather than just the financial aspect,” said Jordan.

“The scholarship has been extremely beneficial to me in several ways,” Rose said.

Besides lifting a large amount of financial stress, Rose also has access to a personal life coach with whom she meets regularly. She attends group meetings and learns about success tools.

“I am very thankful to Ms. Jordan for informing me about this scholarship,” Rose said. “The scholarship has relieved my stress and made it possible for me to focus on my academic endeavors.” 

Rose has completed the life science laboratory assistant program certificate and is working toward an associate degree in biotechnology. She plans to graduate in spring 2016. In the future, Rose hopes to work with bioenergy at a non-profit organization.  

“The certificate prepared me to work in entry-level positions in laboratories,” she said. “I am currently seeking part-time employment for summer. My instructors in the biotechnology program keep me updated on employment opportunities in my field.”

When she is not studying, Rose likes spending time with her children.

“My children are my one source of inspiration,” she said. “I want to be the best I can be for them.”