Student Stories

People who have received scholarships while attending Houston Community College know firsthand how much a scholarship can help students complete their higher education.

Here are just a few of their stories:

There are many people in our communities who should have the opportunity to see life as it was intended for them. I want to serve my community by counseling those who are despondent and think they are without options or hope for a better future."

Zoeieann Smart Townsend, Human Service Technology Student

HCC Scholarship Recipient
Home: Houston

“I am a real-life ‘turnaround’ success story,” says Zoeieann Smart Townsend, who at 42 is embarking on a life change through her studies at HCC. Townsend, among the first recipients of The David and Jean Wiley Foundation Scholarship this fall, credits her scholarship for making possible her career ambition to be an addiction counselor for troubled youth.

“I believe that education is a key element to a more fulfilling life. Being a recipient of The David and Jean Wiley Foundation Scholarship enables me to focus my energies on my education,” she says. “By meeting my educational goals, I am able to go into the community and inspire and educate others on how to pursue their goals and dreams.”

Zoeieann’s outgoing personality is hard to overlook; she is both charismatic and confident in her abilities. She is also committed to success. “I have returned to college to receive the education that I denied myself earlier in my life,” says Zoeieann, whose turnaround started six years ago when she began to rebuild her life through what she describes as an “incredible journey of change and subsequent rehabilitative footwork.”

Her high self-esteem is hard-earned–the result of mending the scars of a negative self-image and the destructive behaviors of her past. Zoeieann says her self-exploration has inspired her to help others to overcome their personal shortcomings. “There are many people in our communities who should have the opportunity to see life as it was intended for them. I want to serve my community by counseling those who are despondent and think they are without options or hope for a better future,” she says.

Zoeieann is taking classes at HCC’s Coleman College for Health Sciences in the Texas Medical Center and HCC’s West Loop campus and is on track to graduate in 2011 with her AAS in Human Service Technology. Upon graduation, she plans to earn her certification to practice as a licensed counselor in the state of Texas. Zoeieann has set her educational sights high and one day aspires to earn a doctorate in behavioral sciences. “I believe I have a few books and lectures in me for the future, besides working daily and consistently with at-risk persons.”

In addition to her coursework, Zoeieann makes time to give back to others as an HCC Foundation Student Ambassador, sharing her story of inspiration and gratitude with HCC donors and friends at HCC Foundation events. This fall, Zoeieann became a member of HCC’s Omega Sigma chapter of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, the largest honor society in American higher education.

Zoeieann, who married a year and a half ago and has a 10-year-old stepson, Austin, is grateful to her family for providing a stable and loving environment so she can focus on her studies. “I am very fortunate and want to be able to give back to others,” she says.

“It is because of the generous support of this scholarship that I get that much closer to my dream of helping lead others to conquer their dysfunction and seek a more fulfilling life. This scholarship inspires and encourages me to continue to do my absolute best. ”

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