ISU women help other women earn their degree

July 22, 2009

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - Five non-traditional students at Indiana State University received scholarships to assist in their quest for a degree thanks to an outpouring of support from women affiliated with Indiana State.

The scholarship's idea came from first lady Cheri Bradley, who created The Women of ISU, an informal organization that provides opportunities for female faculty, staff, alumnae and emeritae to network with each other while also doing something to assist women. All of the group's events are open free-of-charge to any woman associated with Indiana State.

‘It's a continuation of a program I started at Fairmont State University seven years ago," Bradley said. "The program was well-received at Fairmont and it has caught on at Indiana State."

During the April Spring Fling Networking and Scholarship Fund-raiser, donations were collected to fund a new ISU scholarship for non-traditional women attending Indiana State. The event raised more than $4,000 to fund scholarships for non-traditional women to continue their education.

"It only takes a few dollars from everyone to allow women to meet their educational goals," Bradley added. "It's women helping other women."

Non-traditional female students in their junior year at Indiana State were encouraged to apply. Applicants needed to have a 3.0 GPA and write an essay on how the scholarship would benefit them, said Sarah Wurtz, associate director for scholarships. A committee reflecting the demographic of donors selected the recipients.

The women - Catherine Delnat, West Terre Haute; Cindi Marietta, Rockville; Rebecca Mattes, Terre Haute and Sonya Young, Terre Haute will each receive a $1,000 scholarship to offset expenses. Carol Thomas of Shelburn received a similar award -- the Women of Indiana State Dean of the College of Education Award.

Delnat is a senior nursing major. She is a returning student who is finally getting her degree after a long hiatus. She first attended Indiana State back in the 1980's as a young, newly single, mother of three small children. She left school to care for her middle son, who is severely disabled with mental retardation and autism. While out of school she worked non-stop as a disabilities advocate. The two attended many meetings at the state legislature, fighting for Medicaid waivers to provide in-home help to parents who wanted to keep their children at home. The mission was accomplished when the Medicaid waiver program was passed. Delnat intends on pursing a master's degree in nursing at Indiana State and studies at the masters level. She currently works at ISU as a student instructor for Nursing 224 and one day per week as a student nurse at the Department of Veteran's Affairs Hospital in Danville, Ill.

Marietta is pursuing a degree in human resource development while working as the building manager of the Landsbaum Center for Health Education. After working 10-plus years in the human resources field, Marietta was out of a job. After hearing "we love your experience, but we require a degree" from prospective employers, she chose to return to Indiana State to complete the degree she had started directly out of high school.

Mattes, a social work major, is a single mom to a 21-month-old girl. She has successfully juggled her studies and an on-campus job with playdates and trips to the park while maintaining a perfect 4.0 grade point average.

Young, a liberal studies/international studies major, views herself as a peace broker -
bridging gaps between cultures, races, social classes and generations. In addition to being a wife a mother to two teenagers, she volunteers in the International Affairs Center. Young serves as a valuable support person to several ISU international students on a consistent basis, providing transportation to the airport, dentist office, Goodwill and interviews, and home-cooked meals in her home.

An English teaching major, Thomas entered the workforce full-time in 1984 but quit working in 2008 to concentrate on earning her degree. She juggled her studies and a fulltime job for a while, working as a substance abuse counselor at a medium/maximum-security male prison.

The recipients will receive an added benefit that is just as valuable as the monetary assistance - a support system. The five women become members of the Women of ISU and will be introduced at the group's December gathering.

"We want to mentor and support these women as they finish up their degree," Bradley added.

Photo cutline (top to bottom): Cindi Marietta, Catherine Delnat, Sonya Young, Carol Thomas and Rebecca Mattes

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Contact: Sarah Wurtz, Associate Director for Scholarships, (812) 237-3935
Writer: Paula Meyer, ISU Communications & Marketing, (812) 237-3783 or pmeyer4@isugw.indstate.edu