Regina White, 42, is a winner of the Fall 2010 GetEducated / Core4Women $1,000 online scholarship. She is a member of the Athabascan Indian tribe and resides in Fairbanks, Alaska, where she is pursuing a bachelor degree in social work from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
White is a trailblazer in her family. She is the first member to obtain a high school GED and the first to attend a university.
Attending college is White’s life-long dream. It hasn’t been easy. The Native American has had to surmount physical disabilities, negotiate geographic barriers and overcome financial hurdles to reach her goal.
White suffers from a spinal condition and has a hand disability from a work-related injury. To accommodate her condition, she has set up a special work area in her home. She says, “Regardless of these diagnoses, I will still graduate from college. It is faith and hard work that propel my dream.”
As a young girl, White recalls looking from her home up the hill towards the University of Alaska Fairbanks in the distance and wishing one day she could be a student there. Now, two years into the program, she is thankful that distance education provides the opportunity to get a degree. She explains, “Weather conditions can be severe in Fairbanks, and these rural roads become very slick during the winter. The online courses at UAF have enabled me to avoid the dangerous commute and save on transportation expenses.”
White loves the distance learning program at UAF. “My schedule is flexible and the teachers are excellent,” says White. “I have one professor right now in social work who is one of the best mentors I’ve ever known. Even when I’m at home with my computer, the instructors are easy to reach and they always stay in touch.”
White discovered her passion for social work during her job as a cook at Pioneers Alaska, an organization that manages six assisted living elder-care homes in Alaska. Through her experiences, White built relationships and gained respect for the elderly.
White has two daughters, ages 22 and 15. Her first-born aspires to follow in her mother’s footsteps and pursues a master in social work in Kansas. White’s second daughter has a fascination for music and actively participates in her high school orchestra.
After White completes her bachelor degree at UAF, she hopes to continue her work at Pioneers Alaska or find employment with a native non-profit organization in Fairbanks. She says, “There is no question that there are many of our people in great need of social-services and I want to be able to do all that I can to help. I truly believe that even one person can make a difference in a life.”
The online academic scholarship will help cover White's college expenses and allow her to spend time with her daughters. She has been on the Chancellor’s list since her enrollment in 2009, and strives to make the Dean’s list before graduating.
It looks like White is well on her way to making a reality of her other dream: to show her daughters that one can overcome many difficulties to achieve a higher education.
GetEducated.com offers annual scholarships for moms and members of Core4Women. (Editor's note: The Core4Women is temporarily closed for the remainder of 2013. Learn more about other online college scholarship opportunities.)
Online College Scholarship Resources