Veterans Winners

Rachel Bartlett - $2500 Scholarship
Rachel Bartlett

Rachel Bartlett

My name is Rachel Bartlett, I am a Staff Sergeant in the US Marine Corps Reserves and am currently in my second year at Columbia University pursing a degree in Political Science. Since moving to New York in Fall 2017, I have been on officer on Columbia’s Student Council, the Women Veteran Representative for Columbia’s Military Veteran Club (MilVets), on the board of General Studies Awards Committee and was recently selected as a Moody’s Scholar. As the Women Veteran Representative, I am invested in developing women veterans’ initiatives on campus, including monthly leadership luncheons between Columbia women veteran students, women leaders from New York based industries, and continuing the dialogue of women veteran recruitment and success at college campuses across the US. As a member of the MilVets Team, I help facilitate career and internships opportunities at weekly meetings hosted at Columbia with companies such as GP Morgan, Verizon, Bank of America, and others desiring to higher veterans. As an awards committee member I specialize in nominating distinguished students of exceptional leadership for University awards. I also have had the honor of being part of the Ivy League Veterans Council (ILVC) board led by Adam Behrendt of Stanford. ILVC is a student led organization who’s mission is helping veterans by sharing best practices for adjustment and prosperity during our Ivy League experience. Once a month I commute to Washington DC where I serve as a Detachment Chief with Security Cooperation’s Command and continue pursing career opportunities for professional development. Though I am a student, Marine, and community servant, my deepest passion and gift is singing and I do this as much possible whether for community events, in the Columbia Chorus, or as a worship leader at Trinity Grace Church in Manhattan.

Since beginning this adventure in New York, my love for helping others and sharing my gifts have only deepened. Receiving the ThoughtCloud Scholarship would mean enabling me to continue serving my fellow student veterans by relieving some of the financial burden of attending an Ivy League Institution. Though Columbia does its part to help veterans succeed through a supportive veteran community and staff, students are left with over ten thousand dollars/year and cannot enroll into the following school year until that number is reduced to less than a thousand dollars. The three-job structure I had when initially attending Columbia as a full-time student wasn’t sustainable for me as I took on community development and further Marine Corps responsibility, and my health eventually crashed after my first finals season. I am building back from that experience determined to give what I can of my time and talents to others while investing smartly in self-care. I have since reduced to one part time job and believe the ThoughtCloud scholarship will greatly impact my ability to serve with its generation financial award. I lover helping others towards their success and can’t imagine a time when I won’t be involved in that in some way. Now, I need help from leaders who graciously desire to give back and humbly ask for your investment on my pathway to graduation and future success. Thank you from the depths of my heart.

Shartonya Braddy - $1000 Scholarship
Shartonya Braddy

Shartonya Braddy

Hello my name is Shartonya Braddy and I am a student at Irvine Valley College. I recently moved to California from Maryland, but I am a southern North Carolina girl who is on the path of retirement within the federal government. I was a paralegal in the US Army which I served for almost 7 years before I was injured. I am a Iraqi war veteran as well. Originally I wanted to be a probation/parole officer, but once I became injured I had to change my dream job. I have been out of the Army since February 2013 and it took me until now to realize what I truly want to be. I like to help others and show them their purpose in life and it made sense to try to work towards becoming a social worker. With this scholarship I hope to work closer to that goal and make it a reality.

Kyle Fraser - $1000 Scholarship
Kyle Fraser

Kyle Fraser

I am 30 years old, born and raised in Orange County, California. I am a full-time student, on top of being a full-time employee, husband, and step-dad. I enjoy Football, Hockey, and Baseball. I enjoy a good scotch or Irish whiskey, neat. I also have a new hobby in smoking (BBQ, not the inhaling one). I joined the United States Marine Corps right after high school in 2006 and was a fixed winged F/A-18 jet mechanic dealing mostly with powerplants, fuel systems, and operation on the flight line.  After my 5 year enlistment I started taking classes at a local community college and got a position as a veterans work study.

Jesse Caldwell - $1000 Scholarship
Jesse Caldwell

Jesse Caldwell

My name is Jesse Caldwell and I served in the United States Army for five years. I ended at the rank of Specialist in the Military Police Corps. I am currently enrolled at Irvine Valley College in the pursuit of a Bachelor’s degree. I am honored to be among the recipients to receive this award. Thank you again for this opportunity.

Irwin Klink - $1000 Scholarship
Irwin Klink

Irwin Klink

My name is Irwin Klink and I am a former U.S. Army infantryman currently studying at Irvine Valley Community College with aspirations to transfer to U.C. Irvine. Through my time in the military, I have developed the necessary skills and qualities to overcome adversity. To be a recipient of the ThoughtCloud Scholarship is a great honor and this will help to circumvent the costs associated with my university tuition. Specifically, I have decided to pursue a degree in economics with the aim of helping to create an accessible university system for civilians and veterans alike. Through education, we can transform this world into a more prosperous place. It is the vehicle for advancement, eliminating gender inequality, revitalizing the environment, promoting international diplomacy, and uplifting nations to be economically self-sufficient.

The world is globalizing at an increasingly fast pace that is stoking tension within different countries which seek to maintain their identities. However, our diversity and codependence with each other offers each of us the opportunities to collaborate and understand the world wholly. Similarly, when I was in the military it was through our diversity and shared goal that we were able to complete our missions. Serving alongside people of different ethnicities has showed me that our differences can be channeled together to create an improved product.

Bridging the digital divide and integrating technology into developing countries will give poverty-stricken communities a chance to compete an ever-evolving job market. Artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, cryptocurrency, drone developments, and fiber optics demonstrate the increasing dependence on technology. This proliferation will exacerbate a growing divide between agrarian and industrialized countries therefor it is our duty to our fellow citizens of the world to expand the accessibility of education to curb the poverty distribution found throughout the world.

As a native to a rural Fiji territory, Rotuma, I can attest to the rudimentary lifestyle that makes daily life challenging. I will utilize this scholarship to secure an internship with LäjeRotuma Initiative a community-based organization with the goal of conducting information surveys that asses the socio-economic status of Rotuma and develops a management plan to deal with these issues.

Brian Parga - $1000 Scholarship
Brian Parga

Brian Parga

Hi, I’m Brian Parga. I am 24 years old and am a first generation, first year college student from my family. I am the only boy in the family with 7 sisters. I was raised by my father and my grandparents.  I recently just got out of the Marine Corps earlier this year and have been excited to start school for the last year or two. I am pursing a nursing degree and hoping to transfer into UCI fall 2020. I’m ecstatic to start a new line of work and while I loved my time in the service I felt it was my time to move on to different things. The military has given me so much and I’d gladly do it again if need be. I met my now wife directly after I finished boot camp and we spent the next 4.5 years in a long distance relationship which was as rough as you can imagine. We are now finally married and living together with a 3 month old beautiful puppy. While in the Marine Corps I did jobs under an infantry title and security; and loved them both. I am really looking forward to the next few years of school that will be a new type of challenging that I have perhaps not come across for a long time. Thank you for the time and consideration!”

Zachariah Whitrock - $1000 Scholarship
Zachariah Whitrock

Zachariah Whitrock

My name is Zachariah Whitrock and I am in the US Navy Reserves. I am currently in my first year back to school after 10 years active duty. Since coming back to school, I have had a bit of a rough time readjusting to the life of a student. Not so rough in the way of discipline, but rather in the way of learning to study again. In the last 10 years, I’ve forgotten just how much time it takes to do well in college classes- particularly STEM classes. Luckily, though, I learned some great things in the Navy. Like how to focus and get the job done. So, while I can readily admit to having some difficulty back at school, I can also say that each day is getting better and more efficient. I have already gotten to know so many other vets on campus. There are quite a few who are in the same major, Mechanical Engineering, and a good number of those ones are in the same ballpark as far as classes that have been completed. Many of us have lined up our remaining classes together so we can get through as a team. This has made my school experience very enjoyable. Even though we have all moved on from the military, there is still a real bond there between us such that we would prefer to accomplish the mission together. I don’t have many hobbies nowadays due to the extreme workload that comes standard with every engineering degree, but one thing I always make time for is church on Sunday. I have been involved with the church in Anaheim for 14 years and love every bit of it. I have the opportunity to serve community in many ways, whether it be gospel picnics, weekend conference meetings, or weekend retreats up in the mountains. I not only participate in many of these events, but also volunteer at many of them in order to serve those in the community who attend. I am so happy that ThoughtCloud has taken the time to help by offering scholarships. The most important goal I have right now is not only to finish school, but also to do very well in my classes so I can go on to apply to the UCs and some private schools. This scholarship helps me keep the financial stability I need to not have any worry about the “what if” scenarios.å

Pat Mallawong - $1000 Scholarship
Pat Mallawong

Pat Mallawong

My name is Pat Mallawong, I’m an Air Force veteran and currently a full time student  attending classes at Irvine Valley College. I also work full time and have a family. Navigating these three areas as a full time student, full time employee and a being a husband and father is challenging. I would not be able to do it without the support of my family. Life can be challenging at times, but with a great support system, I know I will be able to accomplish my goal of obtaining my bachelors degree in communications. I plan to work for an organization that helps veterans adjust back to civilian life after their time in service has ended. I’m grateful that my current role at work allows me to serve those veterans in need, but I know more can be done. With the ThoughCloud Scholarship, I will be more financially stable in reaching my goal.

Tracy Johnston - $1000 Scholarship
Tracy Johnston

Tracy Johnston

My name is Tracy Johnston, I served in the Navy as a Nuclear Trained Machinist Mate forsix years. I am now attending college with the goal of earning a Bachelor’s Degree inMechanical Engineering. I will be the first of my siblings and cousins to achieve the goal of earning a degree. This scholarship will help to ensure that I am the first of the generation of myfamily to earn a college degree. I believe that earning a degree will set an example for my family, but also for fellow veterans that success can be achieved after service. I hope to be able to help other veterans achieve their goals.

James Farmer - $1000 Scholarship
James Farmer

James Farmer

A little about me – my name is James Farmer and I am a third year student, who recently transferred from Irvine Valley College to Chapman University in Orange, California, pursuing a degree in Biological Sciences. My long term goal is to return to the United States Navy as a trauma physician to provide surgical services to those in need. Since I started my journey here at Chapman, I’ve made it my mission to reach out to other incoming and current student veterans. As the Secretary of the Student Veteran’s Association, I’ve taken on a huge responsibility that also provides me the opportunity to reach out to my fellow veterans. As a veteran transfer student, I know how confusing and overhwelming the transition process and lifestyle adjustment can be from junior college to university. The organization and leadership skills obtained through 8 years of Naval service haven proven to be my most valuable asset in not only supporting those students, but maintaining academic excellence and keeping myself, and those around me, motivated.

As for the ThoughtCloud scholorship and the gracious contributors thereof, I can’t express enough gratitude for how wonderful this financial contribution is – a true blessing. Before starting school, I’d heard of people receiving scholarships and didn’t think much of it. Now that I’m feeling the weight of academic demands push firmly down upon my shoulders, I see first hand how much stress these financial rewards relieve. The balance of work and school is no feat to balk at. Your contributions are never taken for granted, and I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that you’re part of my success. Thank you!