Education

Corvias Foundation Awards Educational Grants to Military Spouses

Each year since 2006 Corvias Foundation has awarded educational grants to help military spouses overcome economic hurdles by allowing them to equip themselves with the tools and accreditation to join the workforce. Since its inception, the Foundation has awarded $1,102,500 in direct educational grants to 223 military spouses (including this year).

Grants are given in the amount of up to $5,000 to spouses of active-duty service members stationed at the 13 Corvias-managed military installations (Forts Meade, Bragg, Polk, Rucker, Riley, and Sill; Aberdeen Proving Ground, Edwards Air Force Base, Eglin Air Force Base, Eielson Air Force Base, Hurlburt Field, McConnell Air Force Base and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base).

Applicants may be in any stage of their educational process. For more information please visit http://corviasfoundation.org/.

We have spoken with numerous military spouses who have first-hand experience with this incredible grant. Here are some of their stories!

Questions: 

1. What inspired you to apply for an educational grant?

2. How did you feel after finding out you were selected to receive this educational grant?

3. Do you have any advice for military spouses who are struggling to realize their own professional goals?

Featured spouses: 

Keri Wygal, Fort Bragg

  1. Well, I have been in school for a few years now trying to pursue a career in nursing and eventually medical school. The closer I get to my goal the more expensive things have gotten. Between books, child care, supplies, scrubs and national testing fees it just seemed almost impossible. I also just had my second son about a year ago and we have just been living off of my husband’s military pay, which isn’t much. He is the one that heard about the Corvias Foundation educational grant and I applied right away.
  2. Honestly, I wanted to cry. It was such a blessing to have been selected and words cannot explain how grateful I am. Being able to actually afford this semester has made it stress free, which is a first.
  3. I think it is normal to struggle trying to figure out what you want to do long-term. I would suggest just jumping in and at least getting some of your basic required classes out of the way, such as English and math. Once you get into an educational setting doors begin to open for you. You will see what you are good at and what you like to do, what makes you happy.

Allie Scandalis-Dempsey, Fort Bragg

  1. Returning to school for my Master’s Degree has been a goal for a long time, but the cost was a big obstacle to overcome. When I heard that Corvias Foundation had an educational grant for graduate students, I knew I had to apply. The grant has relived some of the added financial stress from returning to school and I am so thankful to have been chosen.
  2. I was so excited and thankful. Returning to school was overwhelming; along with the financial strain, I was thinking of deferring. Maybe it would be better to wait a couple more years, even though I had wanted to do this for so long. When I got the call that I was selected for the grant it was just what I needed to confirm that returning to school was what I was supposed to do. I feel proud and that I am being a good role model to my two daughters – to be resilient go after their goals regardless of obstacles.
  3. Moving frequently and constant change due to your spouse’s career can make it difficult to focus on your own goals, but it doesn’t make it any less important. Get experience in different fields to find what you want and don’t want to do professionally. Once I found what I wanted to do and had my goal in mind I wasn’t able to shake it. I knew I had to go for it.

Barbara Jovanov, Fort Riley

  1. My husband inspired me to apply for this education grant. I remember telling him about it when I found the information online and his responds was, “go for it, what do you have to lose?”
  2. At first, I couldn’t believe it when Corvias Foundation called me and I couldn’t stop thanking them due to all of the built up excitement. I wanted to immediately share the news with my husband who encouraged me to apply but I had to wait a week to tell him due to military training that he was attending.
  3. As a military spouse, you don’t have to put your education on hold. With the new technology, such as online education, we have great opportunities to achieve our education and professional goals. Find a professional area that you have passion about and start with a small goal and take it from there.

Gabrielle Tellis-Adams, Fort Riley

  1. As a military spouse living in Corvias housing on Fort Riley, I was delighted to discover the opportunity to apply for an educational grant that would allow me to continue to pursue my doctoral degree with Walden University. As a doctoral student, there tends to be fewer opportunities to apply for grants and scholarships, so I feel blessed to have this opportunity.
  2. When I was informed that I was selected to receive this educational grant, I was overwhelmed with emotion. I am so thankful for this awesome opportunity.
  3. My advice for military spouses is to seize every opportunity available to you. If an opportunity does not exist, utilize your passion and creativity to create an opportunity for yourself. As a military spouse you have already proven that you are powerful beyond measure, which means you can reach and exceed any educational and professional goal that you can imagine.

Isabell Perkins, Fort Bragg

  1. I am from Germany where education is practically free, so when I moved to Fort Bragg with my husband I knew that I would have to pay for my education if I wanted to continue it. Before I signed up for college I talked to the Education Center on Fort Bragg to gather more information about the process of going to an American college. I was told that I should apply for the educational grant that Corvias Foundation gives to military spouses. After I had taken a few courses, which I had worked very hard for, I decided to apply for the Corvias Foundation educational grant, in the hope of getting financial help to reach my educational goal.
  2. I guess there are no words that can describe how I felt, because I was literally speechless when I received the call. I broke out in tears, because I had been working very hard for it and it was not always easy. I also felt proud of myself, because I realized that all the hard work had been paid off. I am a very ambitious student and not only in school but also at work I always do the best I can and try to improve myself every single day. It was, and still is, a great feeling to be one of the educational grant winners and it is something that encourages me even more to reach my dream.
  3. Do what makes you happy! I have lived my entire life trying to make other people happy and to do what other people told me to do. When I met my husband, he made me realize that there is nothing more important than to make yourself happy. It was definitely not easy to change my life and discover what my educational and professional goals are. Even when I finally found what I wanted to do, it still was not easy to take the first steps towards my goal and I know that it won’t be easy until I will reach it. But I know I will not give up and I will fulfill my dream. It is never too late to do something new or to do something you have always been wanting to do. There is so much help out there, especially for military spouses, you just have to ask for it. I know it can be scary at first, but remember – you can do anything you set your mind to!

Kara Burdick, Fort Rucker

  1. My amazingly supportive husband gave me the inspiration and confidence to apply for this educational grant. I was nervous about being a student again and worried about how we would afford my education. His kind words reassured me that I was talented enough to be successful in school and that I would be a strong contender for this educational grant.
  2. My first reaction after finding out that I was selected to receive this educational grant was shock. I couldn’t believe I had been chosen. Then the excitement set in a few moments later when I realized how much this grant would help our family accomplish our goals. It means so much to us, and it will certainly provide the assistance needed for me to complete my education as I strive to grow in my nursing career.
  3. I wish to offer a word of encouragement to the military spouses that might be struggling to realize their own professional goals. I know we often dedicate much of our time and energy supporting our spouse’s career, but it is possible for you to accomplish your goals too. There are many resources available for military spouses, and there may be an opportunity waiting for you.

Kelly Damor, Fort Riley

  1. I was inspired to apply for the educational grant because, while my husband and I know the cost of me getting my bachelor’s degree is a worthy financial sacrifice, it is still a financial burden nonetheless. I figured any assistance I could find to help ease this burden and to lower the amount of debt we accumulate will help us in the long run. I applied for the Corvias Foundation grant because I think grants are generous and amazing opportunities to fund your education and help you achieve your goals. And without trying you can never be awarded one!
  2. After I found out I was selected as a winner this year, I was ecstatic. This grant is truly a blessing for my family and goes a long way to ease some of the financial burden of college. I also felt some validation knowing that there are other people out there, besides my family, who believe in me too. As a non-traditional student, I can feel out of place in classes, but I know that the sacrifices my family and I are making for me to reach my dream of a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing are worth it and it meant a lot to me to have the Corvias Foundation stand behind that.
  3. The advice I would have for any other military spouses struggling to realize their professional goals would be to just go for it. The timing will never be perfect, especially as a military spouse. There will always be a PCS, deployment, or some other unknown hanging over our heads. Don’t try to wait for the perfect time. Take a leap of faith, jump in, and do your best to strive for the goals you want to achieve. And if financial reasons are keeping you from trying to obtain a degree or certification, look around for resources that are available. There are all sorts of grants, financial aid, and scholarships available as well as other military spouse opportunities. In my opinion, you can’t achieve your goals without trying, and whenever you try something new there is always a chance of failure or something going wrong; however, if you have the right attitude and you choose to learn from these experiences, your life will be richer in the end.

Klaudia Trennepohl, Fort Meade

  1. What inspired me to apply for an educational grant was my family. I had been contemplating continuing my education back and forth, but it never seemed to be the right opportunity or the right time financially. However, with an educational grant, I knew that I’d be able to able to take that first step and have the first year of classes and expenses, such as textbooks, taken care of without additional stress.
  2. I was really excited when I found out that I had been chosen as a grant recipient by Corvias Foundation! I didn’t even wait to get online and get signed up for classes that same day. I was ready to jump back into my education and bettering myself for my family. This grant is an incredible opportunity for the military community, and I am honored and blessed to be a representative of that support from the Foundation.
  3. I think a lot of military spouses struggle with the feeling of never being in one place for long enough, and I believe that the idea of constant movement could have an effect on their goals or dreams. However, my husband has always encouraged me to go after whatever it is that would make me happy and allow me to be an individual, and at this time, that’s pursuing an education for a career I am passionate about. So, with a little determination, hard work, support from family and friends, and really wanting to better yourself and chase your own dreams, I think any professional goal is worth pursuing & do-able!

Lauren Whitt, Eielson Air Force Base

  1. We have wanted to start a savings for future expenses, like a down payment on a house or for emergencies, and one way to do that was to pay for college with scholarships and grants instead of using money from my part time job or taking out loans. I saw a reminder for the grant in the Corvias newsletter and figured it wouldn’t hurt to apply.
  2. I felt excited and happy to receive this grant! This grant goes a long way in paying for my school, and I was surprised when I got the call. It feels good to receive this kind of support, and to know this exists for other military spouses.
  3. My advice is to be open to new ideas in your classes. Even in the classes outside of your field of study. You never know what will inspire you.

Mahsa Lynch, Fort Bragg

  1. My educational goals were my motivation to apply for the grant. My educational goals are also my life goals, which make my life meaningful.
  2. I felt very grateful and elated. I felt closer to achieving my goals.
  3. I would recommend they make a list of their interests and what makes them feel happy and to put aside any fear.

Mireya Rubalcava, Hurlburt Field

  1. As a military spouse, it may be overwhelming to consider going back to school. My first thought was how am I going to pay for college and all the expenses that come with it? I was inspired to apply for the Corvias Foundation educational grant because I knew I had nothing to lose by trying. And if I got it, there would be new possibilities for my education.
  2. When I found out I received the educational grant I felt extremely grateful, blessed and relieved of the financial burden that college expenses bring. My husband was deployed when I got the news and I could not wait to share the news with him. When I did, we decided it was time for me to take more classes and arrange child care for our son so I could pursue my goals.
  3. My advice for military spouses who are struggling to realize their own professional goals is to never forget they are fully capable of accomplishing their individual goals. Sometimes as military spouses we doubt our capabilities because of our lifestyle that requires us to relocate often and go through long deployments. But we have to find what works for us and not give up on our goals.

Ramatou Kassegnin, Fort Bragg

  1. I was inspired by my husband who actually gave me the website to apply for the Corvias Foundation grant for spouses. Corvias Foundation made me feel as though I belong to a community that want to see people like me succeed in their education and in life.
  2. I felt extremely grateful to God Almighty, to Corvias Foundation and to my lovely husband who believes so much in me. I felt accomplished and proud of myself for achieving something most people don’t get the privilege to enjoy. Earning this grant gave me more confidence and the courage to keep working hard in school to keep my GPA high as possible. This was my first time applying for a grant and because I won, I am more desired to apply for more grants. Winning this gave me a great sense of pride.
  3. I would like to encourage my fellow military spouses to examine their character strengths and choose professional goals that correspond with their strengths and passions and not necessarily the benefits associated with a particular professional goal. This will make them feel more comfortable. Since it is a passion it’s easier to stay focused and work hard towards achieving them.

Sara Thompson, Fort Bragg

  1. I applied for the grant because the cost of school, as well as childcare, can be overwhelming. The great thing about this grant is that they allow you to use it in other ways, such as childcare. In my case, childcare costs were more than my whole nursing program. At the time, it was my main hindrance from going back to school.
  2. I was ecstatic when I learned I was selected for the grant. It was perfect timing, as we had just PCS’d to Fort Bragg, giving me enough time to complete my nursing degree before we PCS again.
  3. I know many military wives put their husband’s career and their children before themselves. I’ve done the same thing for the past 10 years but don’t ever give up on your dreams. Keep working on pre-reqs online and there will be a time where it all works out. It may not be when you expect or would like, but it will happen and the accomplishment will feel amazing.

Taylor Pinne, Fort Bragg

  1. I applied for the educational grant because I knew that I needed to attend graduate school in order to achieve my dream of someday becoming a licensed clinical social worker. I was also inspired to apply for the educational grant because I knew that with this grant, the financial burden of graduate school would be lightened and then I would be able to focus all my attention and energy on my studies.
  2. When I first discovered that I was selected to receive the educational grant, I felt proud and overjoyed. My husband and I have had to be apart while I attend school (he is in North Carolina and I am attending graduate school in Illinois), and by being selected for the educational grant it made it feel as though that this separation was worth it in order to achieve our dreams.
  3. By being a military spouse, it can sometimes feel as though life is revolved around your husband’s career. Although their career is important, yours is just as important too. Find something that makes you proud to get up every morning and go and achieve it. Thankfully, with the help of the educational grant, my dreams have become achievable and so can yours.

Thalia Doty, Eielson Air Force Base

  1. Before separating from the Air Force in 2012, I deployed for over a year to Afghanistan. Seeing first-hand the impact combat had on me and those I deployed with, I realized that I wanted to lean into the studies of psychology. I wanted to learn more about how and why our minds and bodies respond in the way that they do under extreme environmental, organizational and individual stressors and more specifically, how those emotional and physical impacts affected the families of those service members returning home from war, operating in high-stress work centers and how children subjected to dual-military parents responded in the homes. I knew and understood that only an advanced degree would allow me to work in my desired field, however, I had exhausted all financial means possible through the pursuit of my bachelor’s. I worked to earn income, utilized 100 percent of my GI Bill, paid out of pocket and applied for loans so I could go to school full-time; I saw Corvias Foundation’ educational grant as the key to the education I needed and so badly wanted.
  2. I was elated, and to be honest, extremely surprised. It was surreal to find myself as the recipient of what I typically observe others achieving. It was moving and inspirational to see that my story touched people enough to move them in favor of my receiving this grant. As a recipient, I feel even more empowered and motivated to continue working towards my educational and professional goals and to reach out to those who are impacted by the overwhelming stressors that seem to impact so many military families today. Most importantly, I am very grateful to be a part of the Corvias military housing community. Corvias has truly committed through initiatives like these that it is about more than the homes themselves, but about the people and families inside these homes.
  3. I often remark to others that my biggest regret is never starting soon enough towards a dream. Fear is usually the root of this problem: What if my husband gets orders or deploys; who will take care of our daughter’s as well as us; what if I’m not good enough; what if…? Submit to the power of fear and you can essentially justify delaying anything you want in your life. It takes fortitude and character to identify that excuses are only subconscious fears for the unknowns in your life and that addressing those fears head-on is essential to more effectively managing your goals.

 


Yolanda Quarles, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base

  1. What inspired me to apply for an educational grant was the opportunity to reciprocate the support given to me from my family. My family is my anchor, and have sacrificed a great deal to allow me the opportunity to pursue my educational goals. Seeing their unyielding support on a daily basis inspired me to set aside extra time from my studies to apply for an educational grant to show my appreciation for what they do.
  2. After receiving notice that I was selected for the educational grant, I was shocked initially, followed by happiness and excitement. My shock was due to knowing the competiveness of this grant, and that I was selected. Overwhelmed with happiness and excitement, I could not wait to tell my family the exciting news of what I accomplished.
  3. My advice for military spouses who are struggling in realizing their own professional goals is to first and foremost remain encouraged. The journey in discovering your pathway may be discouraging and frustrating at times, but you have to stay committed to moving forward, even if it is only one step a day. I have struggled in my academic journey in finding my way, but I remained encouraged focused on my goals and eventually landed me where I am today; a scholastic BSN student in her junior year graduating May 2018, and a Corvias Foundation recipient along the way.

Caroline Eaton, Aberdeen Proving Ground

  1. Deciding to go back to school was a difficult decision for me on many levels. As a military spouse, I had struggled to find a job with every PCS move we made. The longer I would look for a job, the more I knew I needed to make a career change. Nursing is a field I have always been interested in and I felt with my prior experience in public health, a degree in nursing would give me the flexibility and job security I was looking for. When I made the decision, my two primary concerns were: would I have enough time to finish a degree program before our next PCS and would we be able to afford going back to school? When I realized the community college offered a 15 month accelerated degree program, I knew I couldn’t let the financial burden stand in the way.
  2. When I learned I was selected to receive the Corvias Foundation educational grant, I was overjoyed and honored. Just weeks before, my husband and I learned we are expecting our first child. We are absolutely thrilled to be expanding our family, however, we knew that this would be another financial responsibility we would have to address. The educational grant allowed me to focus solely on school while helping to relieve the stress of paying for tuition.
  3. My advice for military spouses would be to stay open to new careers opportunities and that it’s never too late to make a change.

Tiffany Escalera-Garcia, Fort Bragg

  1. My husband inspired me to apply for educational grants, knowing that there are many generous people in the world who are willing to help us as we face different circumstances while trying to obtain an education.
  2. I still remember the phone call. I was so excited beyond belief when I was told I been awarded the grant from Corvias Foundation.
  3. My advice to other spouses is don’t give up or pass up an opportunity to receive assistance that will help you and your family. Education is key and without it you won’t be able to succeed and provide for your family.

Martrisha Rodriguez, Fort Riley

  1. I wanted to get my Master’s degree in social work and didn’t have the funding options besides taking out more loans. I was looking for grants and scholarships that catered to military spouses, and was referred to Corvias Foundation by a dear friend. It’s more difficult to find funding for graduate school, so I was excited when I found this grant.
  2. I was really excited. I was challenged in finding opportunities like this for graduate school funding and I’m grateful that I get to continue my education. I really commend Corvias Foundation for providing opportunities like this for military spouses. I think we, as military spouses, get so concerned with the career advancements of our soldiers that we forget about our own dreams. By providing this opportunity, Corvias allows military spouses to flourish in their own professional advancements.
  3. Follow your passion! So many people get caught up in choosing careers that will generate the most salary. Don’t be afraid of following your dreams. Start some research about what you love to do, and make it practical! Don’t hesitate to find a mentor that can help you succeed; he/she could provide significant guidance to help you achieve your goals. My mentor, Kariga Pratt, advised me that the key to success was taking initiative and being flexible. Of course, he was referring to my success in my now former practicum, however, it was so impactful that it was applicable in my real life. Take the initiative to steer your career; There WILL be obstacles, but be flexible with those changes and continue on your journey to success!

Lindsay Iserman, Fort Sill

  1. I felt inspired to apply for an educational grant because of all of the support I have previously received from the military community I live in. I work very hard towards my education and was hoping to receive some financial help for the school year.
  2. I was so shocked when I found out I was selected for the grant. I was actually in line buying groceries and was moved to tears. I felt honored, proud, and so very grateful.
  3. My advice for other military spouses is to use the resources around them and network with anyone and everyone. I have switched majors a few different times trying to figure out my professional goals and, although it can be a hassle, it has led me to exactly where I need to be. So, stay persistent and never give up!
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