Two years ago, Keyla Sanchez came to Omaha as a 25-year-old single mother looking for a job and an education; today she is one-step closer to earning a degree in neuroscience from UNO thanks to a $1000 scholarship from the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s (UNO) Women’s Club.
Sanchez, who currently works as a Spanish-language translator for Omaha Children’s Hospital, is one of nine women, ranging in age from 27 to 55, to receive a collective $9500 in scholarship funds from the UNO Women’s Club and other individual donors.
“I came to America with my son, as a green card holder,” Sanchez wrote on her scholarship application. “It is hard for me to explain the satisfaction I feel when I look at my son’s eyes and I know I am doing my best to offer a good life to him.”
The funds, which were handed out at a private ceremony earlier this month, will help all nine women cover costs for the 2013-14 academic school year.
One of those recipients is Melissa Campbell. Campbell, 52, works full time as an administrative assistant at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and has been taking classes towards a Bachelor of General Studies degree with an emphasis in healthcare administration.
“My mother graduated with her BGS at the age of 63, which has been a great accomplishment for me to aspire to,” Campbell said. “I believe that education is power, and to empower women in our society is an important achievement.”
Campbell will be one of five UNO grads in the family when she graduates. In addition to her mother, her middle daughter and son-in-law are recent alums and her youngest daughter is taking classes at UNO as well.
All of the women receiving scholarship funding are considered to be nontraditional students. Many took time off for family reasons while others took time off due to military service.
"We are so pleased to help these women in their pursuit of a college education in any way we can," said Mary Bernier president of the UNO Women's Club. "The passion and desire of these scholarship recipients to earn a degree, while at the same time taking care of their families and working full-time jobs, is an inspiration."