A scholarship for higher education is life-changing; just ask Laura Burns, a teacher in Hazlet who wanted to continue graduate work to reach her goal in school administration.
As a middle school language arts and social studies teacher, Burns dreamed of taking the next step, but realized the financial hurdles to make it happen would be an obstacle. She applied to the Eastern Monmouth Area Chamber of Commerce (EMACC) Educational Foundation for its annual scholarship and the rest is history, or her story, according to a press release.
Burns was one of 12 recipients of an EMACC scholarship in 2019. She was awarded a $2,000 scholarship, which is designed to help non-traditional students. Burns knew what she wanted to do and she needed a master’s degree to accomplish her goals.
With the help of the scholarship, Burns will graduate with a Master’s of Arts Administration and Leadership from Georgian Court University, Lakewood, in May. She has been invited to give the commencement address for all of the master’s degree candidates, according to the press release.
“I wanted to thank you again for believing in me and helping me financially,” Burns told the EMACC Educational Foundation. “My two-year journey has been daunting and incredibly rewarding; my dreams of becoming a school administrator are close enough that I can taste them. I have accomplished something I never imagined possible.”
The EMACC Educational Foundation selects up to 12 non-traditional students each year for a minimum $2,000 award. Students must be 25 years old and returning to school, changing careers, or pursuing education for career advancement, or they must be college students entering their junior or senior year and/or have completed 60 credits, according to the press release.
“We do this because we believe it is beneficial for our communities to offer financial help for higher education. It’s a win-win for the chamber members and others who graciously donate to the foundation and also for those who are chosen for our scholarships and grants,” EMACC Educational Foundation Board Chair Jackeline Mejias-Fuertes said.
Since its inception in 1999, the EMACC Educational Foundation has awarded $332,000 in scholarships and grants, according to the press release.
The EMACC Educational Foundation scholarship application is now open for the 2021-22 academic year for full-time and part-time students. Individuals who are interested must demonstrate they are continuing their education and need additional funding to help them attend school. Applications for scholarships are due by May 7.
“We are excited to begin the search for qualified candidates for this year’s scholarship awards,” Mejia-Fuertes said.
A panel of board members will review each applicant’s credentials and financial needs and make a decision, according to the press release.
Eligible applicants must live or work in Monmouth County, be employed by or sponsored by a chamber member, or live in housing provided by a chamber member that is a nonprofit organization or attend a chamber member college or university. Visit www.emacc.org to view affiliations.
An applicant does not have to be a member of EMACC, but must provide a recommendation by a chamber member in good standing who is not a relative. Applications may be downloaded from the chamber’s website, https://emacc.org/scholarships
Completed applications and recommendations must be e-mailed by 5 p.m. May 7 to firstname.lastname@example.org
The foundation also provides grants to assist with tuition and fees associated with post-high school vocational, technical or certification programs. Those grants are available to full-time and part-time students and those applications are accepted throughout the year, according to the press release.
The EMACC Educational Foundation will announce the scholarship and grant winners in June and will present the awards at a virtual ceremony.
Donations to support these awards are welcome and may be made on the EMACC website at https://emacc.org/education-foundation or mailed to the EMACC Educational Foundation, care of EMACC, 8 Reckless Place, Red Bank, NJ 07701.