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‘Scholarships helped motivate me to stay in school’

Thanks to the assistance she received, a single mother is able to graduate, reach her full potential

Wednesday Jun 07, 2017


When Angela Fowler of Griffith walked across the Indiana University Northwest Commencement stage to receive her master’s degree in clinical counseling, the achievement represented so much more than simply an affirmation that she is properly trained to work in her chosen field of study.

For the 28-year-old single mother, graduation day represented her victory over the many obstacles that stood in the way of earning her degree.

She juggled family obligations. Two young children and no spouse meant finding quality day care while she attended weekday classes but also while she worked long weekend hours.

She wrestled with personal burdens. Her marriage had fallen apart in the midst of her undergraduate studies. Her emotional health suffered, as did her grades.

She grappled with financial burdens. Trying to pay for her own education while raising her daughters on her own had her struggling to make ends meet.

During these times, her goal of achieving a college degree seemed insurmountable.

Fowler received Pell Grants, which helped financially, but more so, the assistance helped motivate her to stay in school. Still, she needed more. She began to search for IU Northwest scholarships that might help her cover her tuition.

“I applied for the Bettimae Reshkin Memorial Scholarship and hoped for the best. I was shocked when I found out they were awarding it to me,” Fowler said. “Receiving these grants and the scholarship helped me pursue my education by keeping me motivated to continue.”

Fowler admits she didn’t think she had a chance at following her passion in psychology, “but because one person believed in me that I could succeed,” she said, “I had hope.”

The scholarship’s namesake, the late Bettimae Reshkin, taught introductory and abnormal psychology at IU Northwest and also served in various positions in the mental health field. Her husband, IU Northwest Emeritus Professor Mark Reshkin, wanted to honor her memory by helping a student with a similar career path. A student like Fowler.

Fowler earned her bachelor’s degree in 2014 and like Bettimae, she didn’t want her education to end there. She wanted to pursue her master’s degree, but toward the end of her undergraduate education, trouble in her personal life led to a harsh decline in her academic performance.

With her dream to attend graduate school in jeopardy, she once again, needed a boost. Thanks to the close relationships she had built at IU Northwest, her mentors urged her to apply to the substance abuse counseling program.

“I can still remember receiving the news that I got accepted,” she recalled. “Tears rolled down my face and a sigh of relief escaped me.”

Now a newly minted addictions therapist, Fowler has been working for Edgewater Behavioral Health Services for the past year. She is working on accumulating the post-graduate hours that are required to sit for the licensed clinical addiction counselor (LCAC) exam for licensure.

“What I appreciate most about my experience at IU Northwest is the encouragement I received through teachers and staff,” she said. “I had amazing role models to look to for advice.”

As for the drive to persevere toward her goals despite her challenges, Fowler will never forget that she needed to make Bettimae and Mark Reshkin proud.

“Many students have to put off school sometimes due to financial problems, but because I was able to receive the generous financial support from the Reshkin Scholarship along with the Pell Grant, I never took a break from school. If I hadn’t received this assistance, I would never have finished my bachelor’s degree.”

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