Meet Our Scholars
"For millions, education is the only resource against poverty." - Former Chief Justice of Georgia, Leah Sears
Education can mean the difference between minimum wage and a living salary, between a life of poverty and a promising future.
This year, women are receiving hope, strength and financial assistance in the form of Jeannette Rankin scholarships. From all over the country, these women submitted applications for financial aid, because they are working to conquer poverty. In addition to scholarships, Jeannette Rankin Fund encourages and strengthens scholars through cards, phone calls, emails and a support network of other recipients and alumnae.
For 42 years we have been empowering women through education with more than 800 women have been awarded Jeannette Rankin Fund scholarships, but the impact is far greater than their lives. Jeannette Rankin scholars have families and friends and communities that benefit from their education. As women become financially secure, their families can eat healthier, spend more time together, and most importantly, their families see how education can benefit them, too. Beyond families, the community is affected. Jeannette Rankin scholars all have a passion for giving to others and know how their education will help them do just that. Trained accountants are helping low-income members of the community file taxes, nurses donate time at local clinics, artists help others through art therapy and teachers inspire generations to pursue their dreams of higher learning.
Jeannette Rankin Fund supporters are breaking the cycle of poverty and instituting a new cycle, one that encourages growth, self-sufficiency, and volunteerism.
Dora was at a crossroads in her life in 2015. She was feeling particularly discouraged with the path she was on. She came home one day to find her husband had left her on her own to raise her two sons, ages 6 and 16, and he had taken almost everything they owned with him.
Later that year while riding in the car with her oldest son, she confessed her despair and discouragement. He said to her “You always wanted to be a doctor, you should go do that. It’s not too late.” In that moment, Dora decided to embrace education as her new fight song. Dora has struggled with depression since she was nine years old, but she found the strength and courage to move forward from her lowest point. Her motto was now: “I can let this make me bitter, or I can let it make me better.”
Dora transformed as she went back to school at Cuyahoga Community College. She lost an incredible 131 pounds all while having multiple surgeries and health challenges that stemmed from a car accident. She graduated from Cuyahoga Community College in May 2017 with high honors and has since moved to Case Western Reserve University and is in pursuit of her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, Sociology, and Women’s Studies.
“I am pursuing my Bachelor’s Degree to show my sons that it is never too late to start learning and it is never too late to pursue your dream. School has become a light in my life and has taught me to test my personal boundaries.”
Dora will graduate with her Bachelor’s Degree in May 2020 and she plans to continue on to obtain a Master’s in Social Work and a Master’s in Nonprofit Management. Her ultimate goal is to give back and help women who come from similar situations as herself. She hopes to help these women deal with mental health challenges and to make a meaningful life for their families and their communities.
One of the unique features of the Jeannette Rankin Scholarship is that is can be used for what each Scholar needs most to reach graduation. Going to school costs much more than tuition. Dora is a perfect example of using this feature to her advantage.
“The Jeannette Rankin Scholarship has helped pay for books, it has helped keep food on the table during the semester, and allowed me to focus more on my studies.”
This year, Dora is one of 120 Scholars we have the privilege to support. Dora is an incredible example of our Scholars’ universal drive to build better lives not only for themselves, but for their families, their communities, and for other women who are in trying situations.
By investing in JRF, you are making an investment into a group of Scholars, just like Dora, who will go on to make a change in their corner of the world. This is the power education can have.
As we near the end of 2019 and the start of a new semester for our Scholars, will you join us in the pursuit of transformative education for women like Dora? Every gift made goes towards a scholarship that allows women to achieve their dreams and give back to their community.
We hope you’ll consider a donation that will empower women through education.
Click on the Photos to learn more about our Scholars!
Marinda, GA - A.S. in Nursing
"I am a single mother of 2, soon to be 3. It took a leap of faith to return to school for my next level nursing degree. I am pleased to announce that after many long days of studying, I successfully completed my classes and I finished strong. I am grateful for the Jeannette Rankin Foundation because I could not have done this without them!”
Len, MO - A.A.S. in Agriculture
"The opportunity this scholarship presents will help my family as it will greatly decrease, if not erase, the need for student loans, and allow me to continue pursuing my education without the worry or stress of having to work full time while in school. I want my kids to know it's important to get an education, and with hard work and dedication, they too can do it!"
Frances, WA - Early Childhood Education
“The world will only get better when we raise better children.”
Thanks to the Jeannette Rankin Scholarship, Frances will complete her Associate's degree in Early Childhood Education this spring and will pursue her Bachelor's degree in Interdisciplinary Education.
“I have spent my adult life in the service of others. I firmly believe that it is my path in life to help and provide service to those in need. From working with the chronically homeless, to serving food in restaurants, my hope is that I am able to help people in whatever capacity I am able."
Angela, FL - Criminal Justice
“As a single mother of two smart, beautiful daughters, I knew early on that I had to be able to provide for them. I knew that in order to give them the best life possible that I needed to further my education. Although the road to pursuing my goals has been difficult at times, I knew that receiving a higher education outweighed any of the obstacles that I might face.”
Tammie, TX - Social Work
“By pursuing a college education, I am reframing what was once a constricting, traumatic experience, and I am shaping it into an expansive opportunity for growth and liberation that I want to share with other women.”
Tammie is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s of Social Work, with plans to continue on to get her Master’s of Social Work.
Rhonda, GA - Business Administration
"I have put myself on hold to raise a family, and to ensure I was fully dedicated to my current employer. Due to financial reasons, it seemed very difficult to do all these things and still be able to finally obtain my bachelor's degree. The financial burden is still there, but I refuse to let anything else deter me from finishing what I started so many years ago. The possibilities for me are limitless."
Karen, TX - Nursing
"The 2016 Jeannette Rankin Scholarship released a powerful unstoppable belief in me that a low-income woman over 35 with eight children can achieve what many see as the impossible. The Jeannette Rankin Scholarship gave me monetary support with no burden. This made my decision to register for spring semester 2017 classes possible."
Sam, MT - Nursing
“Like Jeannette Rankin, I hope to be a force for social impact and be progressive in bettering the lives of others by applying my education. The studies I am immersed in contain information that won't just stay in books but will have an impact on people's lives. My commitment to learning affects the level of care that others will receive.”
Elizabeth, MO - Business Administration Management
Once she graduates, Elizabeth says “I will actively seek opportunities working for my present employer, the community college, to encourage the older mature student who questions if hey will be able to succeed. I will be able to validate the student’s goals by sharing my own personal success story. If I can do it, they can as well.”
Marcie, GA - Business Administration
Marcie will be pursuing a job in management in either supply chain and logistics or HR. In addition to working and supporting her family, she wants to empower other students to “set goals to obtain higher education through tutoring and volunteering at our small Christian school.” Marcie is an incredible success story and a wonderful example of what is possible in furthering her education.
Gwendolyn, VA - Sociology
“I have enjoyed helping people learn about community services available to them. I hope to be able to serve in a professional position sometime in the future, where I might have even more of an ability to help victims of domestic violence, substance abusers and people with disabilities,” says Gwen.
After graduation, Gwen hopes to continue to make a difference in people’s lives the same way JRF has made a difference in hers. She would like to thank everyone at JRF for believing in her and giving her the confidence she needed to succeed.
“The Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Foundation has given me the opportunity to start over and rebuild my life. From receiving my Associate’s degree to receiving my bachelor’s degree this Spring of 2017, this experience inspired me in so many ways!”
Alba, NC - Spanish
The accomplishment that makes me proudest is receiving my associate degree because when I walked on that stage to receive my diploma, I glanced to where my family was sitting and my youngest son Arthur was smiling from ear to ear. To see him so happy and proud of me tugged at my heart as I’ve never felt before. I hope to continue setting a good example for my children and teaching them that although things will get hard, a good education will keep you going.”
Yinghong, MA - Physical Therapy Assistant
When Yinghong's three year old son was diagnosed with Autism, the single mom took a leave of absence from nursing school to care for him. She says, “If my career goal is to help others, I should help my son first since he needs me desperately.” Three years later, Yinghong’s son is thriving, and she credits this to her early intervention.
Yinghong never abandoned her dream of working in healthcare and decided it was time to return to school. Yinghong loves the profession and has realized that as a physical therapist assistant she must "empower [herself] to help other people." In addition, she works as an advocate for the elderly and as an interpreter for Asian patients who aren’t fluent in English.