A College of Western Idaho (CWI) employee is helping two students offset some of their college costs. Enrollment Advisor Nikki Houston established the “LTH Don’t Give Up” Scholarship at the end of last year with the goal of helping single parents achieve their academic dreams. Alicia Anderson, a Liberal Arts major, is one of the two CWI students who were awarded the scholarship. With the scholarship’s help, Alicia is motivated to achieve academic success.
Growing up, Alicia always knew education was the key to success. She is not only the first person in her family to attend college, she is the first in her family to graduate from high school. She moved away from her home in Idaho Falls after graduating to attend Boise State University, but ended up dropping out to support herself by working two jobs.
“I knew I’d go back to school eventually, but it wasn’t until I got pregnant with my son at the age of 20 that I realized if I wanted to provide a better life for him, I needed to do something beyond retail and customer service,” she said.
When the time came for Alicia to reconsider school, she says it happened during an unexpected time. She had heard about free application week at CWI and decided to check it out. She says one thing led to another and before she knew it—everything worked out perfectly and she was back in class. Her son, Eli, was about to turn seven years old, he was going to school full time, and she had more time to focus on her studies.
“The past few years have been emotional and especially difficult to handle as a single mom,” she said. “Being a single parent hasn’t affected my goals in a bad way, but rather given me the drive and motivation to overcome obstacles in order to succeed.”
Eli’s schedule now allows Alicia to juggle a full-time job, a three-quarter time class schedule, and the many activities little kids enjoy. She manages to keep a 3.0 grade point average as well.
“I try really hard,” she says. “And I work really hard to give my son the things I never had. One day, I’ll be able to look back and appreciate the struggles I endured to make my dreams come true, and I’ll be better equipped to help Eli achieve his dreams.”
Alicia’s goal is to transfer her CWI degree to Idaho State University and study speech pathology.