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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sisters among recipients of Adult Learner Scholarship

News and Information Article Photo
Serena (left) and Sharona Fowler
Photo Credit:
USI Photo Services
Contact for more information:
Brandi Schwartz
Marketing Coordinator
Outreach & Engagement
Evansville natives Serena and Sharona Fowler have more in common than most sisters. Only 11 months apart in age and having lost both parents several years ago, they rely heavily on each other for help and support as they work toward their educational goals. Parents to one young child each, they both attend the University of Southern Indiana as nontraditional students where they will complete bachelor's degrees in May 2012. In addition, they are also recipients of USI's 2011-2012 Adult Learner Scholarship, an annual scholarship program for adult learners designed to recognize academic achievement.

Prior to attending USI, Serena, a nursing major, and her sister Sharona, a psychology major, successfully completed course work at Ivy Tech Community College.

Serena was the first in her family to attend college and is currently participating in an externship in the Cardiovascular Care Center at Deaconess Hospital. Her career goal is to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist and stresses that anything worthwhile takes hard work and dedication.

"Even working 50 to 60 hours per week I wasn't able to provide my daughter with the kinds of opportunities I wanted for her" said Serena. "I often talk to my daughter about the importance of education. Even though it is not easy balancing care for Soffia and succeeding in the nursing program, I wouldn't change a thing. Soffia is by far my biggest motivator."

Sharona followed in Serena's footsteps and started her USI journey in the spring of 2010. Her passion is conducting research in different aspects of discrimination. She has participated in numerous research projects and has presented at several professional conferences, working closely with her peers and professors.

"My son, Gavin, sacrifices a lot for our family and I know it's difficult for him to understand the amount of work I have to do for my classes" said Sharona. "However, I believe exposing him to college at such an early age is very beneficial. He often talks about the day when he will get to attend college."

To qualify for the Adult Learner Scholarship, applicants must be a current USI student, be at least 25 years of age, and be working on his or her first undergraduate degree. Applicants submitted an essay describing their academic goals and experience as an adult student and a letter of recommendation from a USI staff or faculty member. Scholarship winners receive up to $2,000 for tuition, fees, books, and other educational expenses.

Other recipients of the 2011-2012 Adult Learner Scholarship include Cindy Criss and Jennifer Ruff, Boonville Jeffrey Andrews, Amy DeVries, Ernest Griffin, Marta Hollen, Joshua Luedeke, Tamra Marx, Wendy Painter, Debra Pellant, and Mary Schwambach, Evansville Linda Berg, Holland Heather Lindall, Newburgh Eric Fisher, Owensville and Jason Prater, Pisgah Forest, North Carolina.

The Adult Learner Scholarship is available through USI's Division of Outreach and Engagement.

Applications for the 2012-2013 Adult Learner Scholarship will be available in the fall at

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