Lamar Community College (LCC) student Kayla Bronson is not a so-called “typical” college student, fresh out of high school. The mother of two is currently studying nursing at LCC, and just completed her Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) year at the college.
She is motivated by more than just the desire to change careers: she wants to someday help children like her daughter suffering from metabolic diseases. Bronson’s daughter was born with Very-Long-Chain Acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency (VLCAD), a rare genetic condition that prevents the body from being able to break down some fats. Symptoms vary based on the severity of the disease, with the worst cases resulting in serious heart conditions or death. Bronson said she is driven to continue her education, so that she could someday help other children and give them the best quality of life possible.
“In the long term, I want to be able to care for kids with my daughter’s same disorder, whether that be as a nurse or provider,” she said. “But I have always had a love and appreciation for the medical field. My long-term career goal is to become an MD and specialize in metabolism and genetics. Although, the further I get into the nursing field, the more I have grown to love it, so becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner is also on the table as far as career goals go.”
Bronson is pursuing her goals of working in medicine, a dream made possible thanks to Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative (COSI). The nursing student and Southeast Colorado native has received a COSI scholarship every semester she has been enrolled at LCC and without it, she said, college may not have been accessible for her.
LCC is hoping to encourage other students like her to go to college. Right now, tens of thousands of dollars in scholarships are available to LCC students, both incoming and current, according to LCC Foundation Executive Director Anne-Marie Crampton. She said the college has made it easier than ever for students to apply for scholarships.
“Both COSI and LCC are committed to helping our students with financial resources and the resources to complete college,” Crampton said. “We know that deciding to go to college is a huge decision – especially for adult students. We want to make sure that our students have all the tools they need to succeed here and prepare for employment or additional education. That includes connecting students with financial aid, advising, tutoring, and other resources to build skills and confidence levels.”
COSI is different than most scholarship funds, as recipients also receive one-on-one advising and assistance from the COSI Navigator, Ranee Woods. She helps students to steer through challenges to complete their programs of study and prepare for their future.
Bronson said the process to apply for and receive scholarships could not have been easier, especially the online portal which allows students to apply once and get matched with several scholarships.
“I loved the scholarship process at LCC,” she said. “You don’t spend hours filling out each and every application you think might qualify for. I didn’t really even need any help from LCC in completing the scholarship process. Everything is really self-explanatory, and I would say the application process took me less than twenty minutes to complete.”
Many scholarships deadlines 2021-22 academic year, including the COSI, are approaching. Students who are planning on taking classes at LCC can start their applications online at any time. Currently there are scholarships available for students in nursing, business, agriculture, horse training management and more.
A common misconception, said Crampton, is that a student must have perfect grades to receive a scholarship.
“We are encouraging all Colorado students to apply for scholarships right now as we have both need-based and merit-based scholarships,” she said. “There is something for nearly everyone, and it just takes a few minutes to apply for multiple scholarships all at once. We try to make it as easy as possible.”
For more information about LCC’s scholarship opportunities, visit lamarcc.edu/scholarships.