Scholarships: Bridges to Success

Students at Inver Hills make the most of funding opportunities

The Inver Hills Foundation promotes Inver Hills Community College by forging partnerships with area high schools, businesses, community organizations and government agencies. The Foundation builds capacity by securing financial and other resources that advance the mission of the college. The Foundation also assists students, faculty and staff seeking educational excellence.
Your contributions to the Inver Hills Foundation fund scholarship programs that provide opportunities to students who might otherwise give up on a college education simply because they lack the finances. You can help a traditional student make smart choices right out of high school, or an underrepresented student be the first person in her or his family to attend college, or a nontraditional student discover a new career and make a fresh start in life.

Here are four Inver Hills students who are using their scholarship dollars to build bridges to a brighter future.

Tim Spychalla
A.A. • Biomedical Engineering transfer student
$1,000 Debi Malicki Memorial Scholarship • Spring 2014

Tim Spychalla

  • Age: 24
  • 2007 graduate of Park High School
  • Hometown: Cottage Grove, Minn.
  • Residence today: Hastings, Minn.

Tim Spychalla started working as a machinist as a high school student. Tim still practices that trade at a machine shop to help pay his way through college, but his goal is to earn an A.A. degree at Inver Hills and then transfer to the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and continue his undergraduate work in the Department of Biomedical Engineering.
“I want to get a Ph.D. and become a biomedical engineer,” he said. “I’m interested in conducting research in tissue and organ fabrication.”
Tim received the Debi Malicki Memorial Scholarship for succeeding in at least one college-level math course while maintaining a cumulative GPA of 3.20 or higher. When he’s not studying or working as a machinist, Tim enjoys snowboarding at Afton Alps. He also skateboards and plays disc golf.

Carrie Wagner
Applying for  Minnesota Alliance for Nursing Education (MANE) program
$1,000 Kopp Family Foundation Scholarship • Spring 2014

Carrie Wagner

  • Age: 39
  • 1993 graduate of Highland Park High School
  • Hometown: Hampton, Minn.
  • Residence today: Hampton, Minn.

A single parent with two children, Carrie Wagner is a first-generation college student seeking to build on years of management experience in the restaurant sector to become not only a registered nurse, but the charge nurse in a hospital ward. Carrie was six-months pregnant with her son, Christian, now 3, when a drunk driver crashed into her vehicle, injuring her severely. Her eldest son, Jay, 20, is deployed in Afghanistan with the Minnesota National Guard.
“My first informational meeting at Inver Hills was life altering,” said Carrie, who is applying for the Minnesota Alliance for Nursing Education (MANE) Bachelor of Science in Nursing Dual Enrollment program with Metropolitan State University. “I feel like everywhere you turn at the college, someone is always there to help. Inver Hills is an amazing place to be.”
Carrie serves as a peer tutor and also works as the treasurer and disaster relief officer for a student club called Volunteering Individuals Brings Empowerment, or VIBE. She went on a VIBE volunteer mission to Joplin, Mo., in 2013, to help with tornado relief and recovery efforts. She marks that trip as one the most incredible events in her  life.

Le Pham
A.A. • Health care transfer student
$500 Dennis Anderson Memorial Scholarship • Spring 2014

Le Pham

  • Age: 21
  • Completed high school in Quảng Ngãi Province, Vietnam
  • Hometown: Small village near Quảng Ngãi, a township in the province
  • Residence today: Burnsville, Minn.

Le Pham and her sister, Ly, also an Inver Hills student (see below), grew up on a small family farm near the township of Quảng Ngãi in Vietnam. The province where Le grew up is located at a central point between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. With help from an uncle already in the U.S., Le’s family moved to Minnesota to take advantage of the educational system.
“At first, life in America was very stressful,” said Le, who works at the Center for Equity and Inclusion at the college. “I couldn’t drive and knew very little English. I felt like I couldn’t do anything. Now I have my driver’s license and my English gets better every day. I’ve found that people in the U.S. are very independent. In Vietnam, we are more dependent on family.”
Le received the Dennis Anderson Memorial Scholarship due to financial hardship and her good standing in Phi Theta Kappa. She appreciates the teaching method at the college and also enjoys the recently remodeled college library. Both sisters, Le and Ly, attended the 5th annual Power in Diversity Leadership Conference in late January 2014 at St. Cloud State University. After Inver, Le is thinking about enrolling at the U of M or Hamline to pursue a career in pharmacy or nursing. Right now becoming an R.N. is in the lead.

Ly Pham
A.A. • Chemical engineering transfer student
$2,500 Flint Hills STEM Scholarship  Spring 2014

Ly Pham

  • Age: 19
  • 2012 graduate of Eagan High School
  • Hometown: Small village near Quảng Ngãi, a township of 120,000 people
  • Residence today: Burnsville, Minn.

Like her older sister, Le, Ly Pham did not speak English when she arrived in the U.S. She watched cartoons to help her pick up the language and one of her favorites was Curious George. Ly attended Eagan High School to finish her secondary education before joining Le at Inver Hills. She is a student senator and a member of Phi Theta Kappa. She also works in the Financial Aid office and serves as a math tutor, helping her fellow students with problems in Calculus I and II.
“I love math,” said Ly, who is currently at the top of her class in Introduction to Statistics. “I like that I can help other students with math and improve my English at the same time. I like the instructors the best at Inver Hills. My English teachers have been great. Inver Hills is a small place that is full of love and care.”
Ly will graduate in spring 2015 with her A.A. degree. She has plans to attend the University of Minnesota to study chemical engineering. She eventually wishes to earn her Ph.D. and work for a transglobal chemical company. She and Le both enjoy watching movies and playing badminton.
Le Pham and Ly Pham

Make a gift today to the Inver Hills Foundation: Online Donation Form

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