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First-generation college student receives award

Ashley Charnley | Thursday, November 19, 2009

For Mariel Rose, a sophomore at Saint Mary’s, going to college may not run in the family, but “not getting a college education had never crossed my mind,” she said.

Rose was awarded a $2,000 grant from the Lilly Endowment at its “Realizing the Dream” banquet, which recognizes those who are first-generation college students. The awards go to students from 32 independent colleges throughout Indiana.

Rose said she didn’t apply for the grant, but was approached by April Lane, assistant director of First Year Studies at the College, who told her she met the qualifications.
“It was really just out of the blue. [Lane] asked if I would like to be considered for it, so I said yes, I was interested,” Rose said.

Rose said she hadn’t expected to be chosen, and she “didn’t really think much about it.”
In honor of those who won the award, there was a banquet held on Nov. 7 in Indianapolis. Rose did not attend the banquet, though, because her brother was visiting from the Naval Academy.

For another part of the award, the student is able to pick a teacher from their educational career who was important to them, and in turn that teacher then receives a $1,000 grant from Lilly.

Rose chose her high school teacher, Linda Porto, a teacher at Trinity School at Greenlawn in South Bend. Porto teaches math, history and Latin.

“She was an excellent teacher. She got to know me on a personal level, not strictly a student-teacher one,” Rose said. “She was always interested in how I was doing, both in and out of class.”

Rose said she appreciated Porto’s commitment and care for her students and her job.
“It was clear to me that she loved her job and her students. She made learning fun for me, and she didn’t always give the answer,” she said. “She made me work to learn on my own which has prepared me well for college.”

Rose said she has never considered any option other than going on to college to continue her education.

“Growing up, my parents always stressed to me the importance of education, especially higher education because both of them regret not going to college,” Rose said.

Rose said she has always seen the commitment involved in seeking a higher education.
“I think a college education is crucial to succeed in today’s world,” Rose said. “Because of that, I have always been ambitious and serious about my school work.” 

Rose is currently majoring in biology at Saint Mary’s. She plans to attend medical school after graduation.