Name: Sandra Nunez
Age: 48
Location: California
School: Capella University
Degree: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Human Services — Management of Nonprofit Agencies
What did you think when you found out you won?
At first I thought it could not be happening, I wasn’t sure someone was pulling a fast one on me. But then after I realized it was real, I cried, I thanked God, I thanked God, and I thanked God for His Infinite Goodness!  Immediately after that I sent an email thanking the award decision committee.
What are your education/career goals?
My educational goals include the successful completion of a Ph.D. in Non-Profit Management, that it may facilitate my understanding of how to run a Non-Profit Agency for the empowerment and benefit of others, and involving greater-good service projects worldwide. 
Why did you apply for this scholarship?
I saw an opportunity, as they say: opportunities may not come again, so I figured I had nothing to lose but a few minutes of my time.  I took a few minutes, said a small prayer and then submitted it. I am sooooo I glad I did!
What advice do you have for other adults going back to school?
JUST DO IT! (JDI)! Higher education should appeal to everyone, particularly at a time like we are living in the present, when the economic downturn has had definite deleterious effect on the vitality of the entire nation [communities, families, individuals alike]. Higher education helps build individual character and structures future social networks for the individual. Not to mention, it is the gateway to a better economic opportunity that is the mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing of the individual and his/her family.  Intellectual nourishment also helps feed the soul, helping it to take one from the lesser self to one’s greater self! – this being the most incredible accomplishment of all.
Any last thoughts to share?
Yes. Never stop believing, learning, and growing. Always be thankful for everything you have, and for even the things you’d rather dismiss in your life. Remain hopeful and grateful and you will see the magic of miracles in your life. Do not forget, miracles are not the suspension of a Natural Law, but the implementation of a Superior Law when the universe sees there is merit involved.
Essay: I am a forty-eight year old Mexican-American woman, mother of two, grandmother of two adorable grandchildren, and wife of thirty-one years, to my high-school sweetheart. I consider being raised in a border town community, being not only bilingual and bicultural - but also having the special insight of being culturally competent - a blessing. Having experienced first hand the opportunity of living amongst poverty and experiencing all the socio-economic disadvantages associated with this groups underprivileged position and status, I feel I have the personal linguistic and cultural insight to be one that can help uplift many individuals from their disadvantaged socio-economic position.   In addition, having almost twenty years of healthcare reimbursement experience, and having focused my graduate studies on cultural competence in medical practice, has provided for me, the professional and academic support, that race and ethnicity among U.S. populations, correlate persistently with health disparities. So how are we to deal with these disparities? By becoming more involved in the recreation of the planet, through edifying works, the physical health disparities may possibly be transformed. But before this can take place, humanity must first transform the moral, spiritual, and social health of the planet, something I have definite plans of contributing to during my lifetime. Your scholarship program can help make this happen for me.
My degrees (I will humbly mention, all three, were Magna Cum Laude) from the University of California, Irvine, and Los Angeles campuses, with majors in Anthropology, Social Science, and Latin American Studies I credit to Divine Providence as they were the result of awarded scholarships and fellowships that made it all possible for me. Thus far, my most significant academic accomplishment has been my induction as an honorary member to the highly distinguished Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society.
I have enjoyed the blessed spiritual journey life has offered me, with its hardships and its triumphs, with its sorrows and its joys, and particularly traveling to distant lands, meeting new friends, and learning from their different cultural experiences.  While my faith and my family have been central pillars in my life, I am now (that my children have grown) in a position to dedicate myself more completely to the service of others. In addition, my husband is looking forward to retirement in a few years and we have both considered the service of the underprivileged as a way of making our post-retirement years most productive and meaningful. This new opportunity, to accomplish my academic preparation online and with the much needed financial support, would be a dream come true for me.
By learning to manage a Non-Profit Organization with a Doctorate degree in Human Services Management, I will help empower those with genuine need in a way that encourages them in a dignified way.
In many cases, it is shown that many such beneficiaries go on to serve in similar community or global service projects. While I already possess the human and spiritual passion, knowledge, and skills to serve others, I lack adequate specific academic preparation in Non-Profit Management. The focused academic program with its valuable lessons would provide for me the necessary skills to help empower underprivileged men, women and children of all ages, through education and sustainable development projects. I believe I have what is required to complete such rigorous academic program.
Whether or not you find me to be a good match for your scholarship program, I commend you for your outstanding work and dedication. I know it will be a blessed soul that is awarded such honor and I know this soul will always reciprocate your noble decision, in the favor of others.  I wish these individuals great success in their academic, professional, and civic endeavors as well as genuine discernment for the committee in charge of making the awards-decisions. 
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