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Scholarship Recipients 2023-2024

From Pima Medical Institute

  • Nayeli Maldonado

  • Teresa Hollomon

  • Vanessa Martinez


From Helping Hands for Single Moms

Jessica Chamble
Gloris Gonzalez

Here is Nayeli's Story:


Vet Tech Student at Pima Medical Institute

You would think writing about yourself would be effortless. Putting who I am in words for others to read is a challenging task, but one that I am delighted to take on. My name is Nayeli Maldonado.


I am a 32-year-old biracial benevolent soul in a body made up of oxygen, hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus. At an incredibly early age I learned that who you think you are, is not always what others think or see. Some say that personality is defined by a person’s patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaviors, I hope that reading about me will be the beginning of you getting to know the real me.


Without a doubt, the culture that shaped me is one that I am truly proud of. My childhood was tough, an experience I know I share with many. The father who contributed to my reason for living is an African American man who I have only talked to once when I was 22. His words to me were “I have no money,” which I never asked for. I honestly just reached out because I was told he was going legally blind and thought he might want to meet my son and me, but that is a whole different story. I was raised by a single Mexican woman my mother and her brother my uncle Victor. My uncle Victor was the only father figure I needed; he was a breath of fresh air in a house full of girls. My four sisters and my mother of course. Victor, my uncle, the only person who really knew me, was murdered when I was 16 years old. That was the chapter of my life is what ended my childhood. My uncle taught me to speak up for myself, to live in my truth and always be honest with others, losing that part of my life was so hard but plays a role in who I am today.


On top of that, in my family education, being on a team, even things like credit or a career were not taught or talked about. Even though I wish those were things we had talked about growing up, I was able to learn about them on my own. I learned to be independent to push and motivate myself to be better. At 19 I became a single mom I was sure I was following in my mother's footsteps. I worked day and night to support my son and myself. My family would help me watch my baby while I worked. They used every moment to put me down for not being married or a stay-at-home mom. So, I investigated and researched work at home jobs. That way I can be a stay-at-home mom and still support my son on my own. I started working for Synchrony Bank in 2018 as a bilingual customer service representative. Fun fact my first day on the job was my birthday December 10th. I was so happy and appreciative to be part of Synchrony. They have great benefits and flexible schedules all while at home. 3 years into the job Synchrony Bank bought a pet insurance company called Pets Best. I was told any employee that wanted to apply would get a promotion and raise the only thing we had to do was pass the property and casualty license exam in the state of Arizona. I went for it and got the job!

I started working for a part of the company whose priorities are dogs and cats of all breeds. I talk to clients, listen to their pets in the background, and work with veterinary clinics to obtain pet information and medical records. I was so fascinated with all the information that came with working with pets. I needed to know more, I wanted to be there in person. So, I started thinking of going back to school. Veterinary school to be exact! I never imagined college would be in the books for me. No one in my immediate family had been to college. Just the thought of having a meaningful career one my son and I could be proud of meant the world to me. I called Pima Medical institute and requested a tour and two weeks later I was enrolled. I knew school was going to be an investment. So, I weighed my pros and cons. My two main concerns were financial and the fact that I was a mom in her early thirties. Student services and financial aid took care of one of my concerns, which I am incredibly grateful for. As for my age, I mean the debate is still out on that one. I did my externship with humans half my age that have years working in the career I am just getting started in. The only thing getting me through this journey and driving me to succeed is that every day I remind myself that it is never too late to make something of yourself. Also, going back to school has been an inspiration for my son and my sisters. One of my sisters has recently graduated from college and another will be starting classes soon.

As expressed, I started out my essay talking about how hard it was to write about myself, but now that I have started it is a little hard to stop. I wrote a lot about my past and it has helped me realize that without it and my experiences I would be someone completely different. One could argue I could have been someone better. But whose to say that the better me is not on her way now! I will end on this note; I hope I am seen as an example to never give up and allow yourself to hope and make your dreams come true no matter your age or obstacles.

Here is Vanessa's Story:

Hello. My name is Vanessa Martinez. I'm 28 years old. I believe I make an excellent candidate for the IMPACT scholarship, firstly, for the commitment I put into balancing the responsibilities of raising a child while pursuing my education. Despite some challenges, I've shown the ability to prioritize my child's needs while still striving for personal and academic growth. Besides the encountered financial hardships and emotional struggles as a single mother may face, it has also given me the ability to empathize with others and connect with them. These opportunities have given me the chance to not only go back to school to reach my dream for myself but also show others going through the same struggles they can do it as well. I want my son to grow up and see that although it was tough, I kept going and never gave up. 

Through there have been times where it's been difficult and had made me overthink, I have always thought of my son and how I could do better for not just myself but for him and out future. When I've having a bad day, I think of him, and he is my motivation to keep going and only do better from here. I want not just other single mothers but anyone who has doubts about them to do it as well. I believe my determination, empathy, and resilience makes me an ideal candidate for the IMPACT scholarship as I have the potential to inspire others through of my own journey of growth, perseverance, and success.

Here's some of Gloris's story:

In my teenage years, I had never thought about what kind of future I wanted. I could never envision myself in any sort of career. When I found myself pregnant at a young age of 18, life was more uncertain, and I could not figure out what to do for my child or myself. At that time, I dropped out of college and began working in warehouses; the hours and work had a toll on my body.

When I found myself in a new relationship, my finances improved and I was able to stay at home. We had conceived another baby but soon after my pregnancy my relationship began to crumble. My relationship had become too abusive, emotionally and physically, so I had no choice but to leave.

I had found myself homeless with two children and no job. I took my children to my parent’s house and stayed there. Being a single mother has many difficulties and is very expensive. I started looking at information on careers. One thing I had always been good at is computers.

I embarked on a journey to enroll into college again and pursue a career in technology. I know I will do well, because I am driven to succeed for my children and have proven it with my 4.0 GPA at Glendale Community College and now at Western Governors University (WGU), where I am completing my bachelor’s degree in Cyber Security and Information Assurance.
Graduation date: 12/2025



Scholarship Recipients 2020

Khrysteena, Advanced Behavioral Health Sciences – Estrella Mountain Community College

She lives with her fiancé, two young children, her father, and two siblings. Her fiancé is the only one able to work at this time. Scholarship money would reduce her stress of putting food on the table and continue her education. “I want to make a better life for my children and a comfortable life for myself and my future husband.” Her academic goals is to get her associate’s degree and then transfer into The Social Work School at Arizona State University to earn her BSW. “Formerly working with children with disabilities has made me really want to make a difference in their lives, and I feel I can do that within this career.” She says that having to take charge of her two little ones has greatly positively shaped her leadership skills, along with patience. “Being a parent is the biggest leadership role that you could possibly have in my eyes. I have two little lives that depend on me to help them thrive within theirs everyday.”

Oiza, Nursing – GateWay Community College

She is a international student who has been sponsored in her academic career up until the current COVID-19 pandemic. With the sponsor no longer able to support both her tuition and living expenses, she needs scholarships to continue her education. The jobs on campus have dried up until in-person classes resume. This scholarship will make a positive impact on my study in the upcoming academic year. “My career goal and aspiration are to become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetics.” Eventually she hopes to earn a bachelor's degree from Arizona State University and go on to  enroll in a nursing doctoral program “while also practicing as a registered nurse to acquire more clinical experience and support myself financially.” Once she has her degrees, she will “help stabilize my family's poor financial status.“ One value I hold so dearly is treating people with kindness, and also putting a smile on people's faces. I intend to use my profession to leave people better than I met them, and that is what success means to me.


Theresa, Repiratory Care – GateWay Community College

She lives with her parents and currently works part time at Gateway Elementary School and will try to pay what I can from my checks towards tuition. However, due to COVID-19, she has been without work. She is now having to use the money she had been saving for school to meet the basic needs of her family. “I am the first person in my family to attend college. All I have ever wanted was to be successful and break the cycle of poverty that has affected my family for generations.”She wants to become a physician assistant specializing in pediatrics.  “I have always enjoyed working with children in an education setting. However, I want to go into the medical field and help children in a different way.” Her academic goal is to complete her associate’s degree in respiratory care, then transfer to ASU for my bachelor's degree. Once she completes her bachelor's degree, she will apply to the physician assistant program at Midwestern University.

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