This May two of our RCM Scholars graduated after years of mentoring and financial support from the RCM Scholarship Program. We will recognize both scholars at an upcoming June Rotary meeting. Read more about Natasha Todd and Jessica Ortiz below.
By Kathleen O’Brien, Natasha’s RCM mentor
Natasha was named a Rotary Scholar four years ago after graduating from Rufus King High School. She was accepted into Marquette University’s School of Nursing and will graduate this May 17th. Natasha loves pediatric nursing and plans to seek employment at either Children’s Hospital or Rogers Memorial once she has passed the NCLEX exam scheduled for this June.
During her four years at Marquette Natasha worked over 20 hours a week mostly for ATC (Autism Treatment for Children) an agency that helps autistic kids develop social and behavioral skills through play and special programs. This is one of the reasons she may seek employment at Rogers or a similar institution that have an adolescent psychiatric unit.
When asked what helped her persist to graduation, Natasha said that her mother and grandpa were great role models for her and terrific supporters. “I saw them working so hard all their lives” said Natasha, “They are great motivators for me.” She added that a 5th grade teacher really opened her eyes about what she could become.
Her persistence and good grades are noticed at Marquette too. She has been asked to introduce that university’s president, Mike Lovell, at an upcoming luncheon for Educational Opportunity Scholars.
She also has good advice for future scholars: “Just say no when your friends want you to hang out.” It was hard for her to stay focused and disciplined but she knew that she couldn’t spend a lot of time with her friends until she studied and moved forward. “Now they really look up to me since I am accomplishing my goal. I hope I can continue to be a role model once I graduate.”
So what’s in the future for Natasha? She loves to read and hopes to get a bit of time off this summer to do fun reading and reconnect with friends. She also sees herself going to graduate school in a few years to earn a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner degree. With her drive and focus, we know she will accomplish this goal too!
By Mary McCormick and Bill Coleman, Jessica’s RCM Mentors
Congratulations to Jessica Ortiz who graduated from UW-Whitewater on May 16th! Jessica majored in Criminology and minored in Sociology. She is actively looking for a job in her field. Her goal is to become a crime scene investigator to help families seek justice for their loved ones.
Jessica entered UW-Whitewater in the fall of 2010 after graduating from Bradley Tech. Although a strong student in high school, college proved to be a challenge. At the end of 2013, Jessica wrote: “Being in college made me realize that I really need to be motivated to finish, otherwise I will not get the grades and never finish. I always say that everything has a purpose so everything happens for a reason. College has focused me on working on my challenges and getting my grades up.”
While at UW-Whitewater, Jessica engaged in multiple activities. She is particularly proud of her time as a Team Leader Coordinator for the Pre-college program. Jessica served as a role model and provided encouragement and support to the students and team leaders.
She also worked as monitor in the Individualized Learning System in Educational Media. ILSEM is a learning system designed to present students hands-on practical experiences at the introductory level with classroom technologies for print, graphics and visual communication, and related web-based resources. In her senior year, Jessica provided care and assistance to disabled students with daily activities getting about on campus.
As Jessica’s Rotary mentors throughout her college career, we have been impressed by Jessica’s “stick-to-itiveness” and growth of confidence over the past several years, and look forward to following her career.