By Tavis Evans
Chemeketa students Santiago Lopez and Jennifer Walker-Rowe are the new recipients of the Ford Family Foundation Scholarship.
The scholarship pays about 90 percent of the students’ college tuition, living expenses, books, and supplies. The scholarship can be used at Chemeketa or will follow the students to any four-year college they wish to attend.
Marc Duyck, an advising specialist with TRiO, said, “The scholarship is the long sought-after prize of any student in college or wanting to attend college as the scholarship pays for full tuition and fees for the recipient.
“Recipients are primarily low-income, first generation students who struggle to pay for college.”
Lopez and Walker-Rowe are both TRiO students.
TRiO is a federally funded educational opportunity for low-income, first generation, and disabled students. The goal of TRiO is to assist students to overcome financial, class, social, and cultural barriers to higher education. Once in college, TRiO assists students so that they can earn a college degree.
Duyck said that both students have different merits that make them stand out.
“Jennifer is a very outgoing and engaging person,” Duyck said. “She mentors to young people through the Mid-Valley Mentors and Catholic Community Services. She is also co-president of the Chemeketa Arts of Mentoring Club. She has helped organize fundraisers for the Montez-Bailey Scholarship. Jennifer has also helped organize service-learning projects, assisting and working with homeless youth in Salem.
“Ms. Walker-Rowe has an infectious enthusiasm for helping others and is passionate about holistic living personal fitness and wellness.”
In describing Lopez, Duyck said, “Santiago is very dedicated to his family. He and his partner have children ranging from elementary school to high school. He also coaches his daughter’s softball team. He is a dedicated student and is committed to his academics and the well-being of his family. He works very closely with his adviser, Casey Hultberg, on his academic planning. He uses the resources available to him, such as tutoring and the TRiO Resource Center.”
The Ford Family Foundation a private, non-profit foundation located in Roseburg. The foundation has no ties to the Ford Motor Co.
Kenneth and Hailie Ford built the Roseburg, Forest Products Co., one of the largest family-owned wood product manufacturers businesses in the nation. Over time, they established a foundation that grew in size and scope to give scholarships as well as grants to rural communities.
Walker-Rowe said that when she first received the letter that said Congratulations on it, she had tears streaming down her face.
“I began to jump and shout in excitement and joy,” Walker-Rowe said. “I thanked God over and over for such an amazing blessing.”
Her plan is to transfer to Corban University to obtain a bachelor’s degree in psychology/youth and family studies and then towards a master’s degree in Christian leadership.
“My ultimate goal is to start a non-profit organization and do motivational speaking,” she said. “I am excited for my future and embracing the journey along the way.”
Lopez said that he hoped to use his scholarship to get his AAOT and then transfer to Oregon Institute of Technology for renewable energy engineering in 2013. He hopes to attend the new campus that is being built in Wilsonville.
Lopez said, “I feel truly blessed to have received this scholarship as it is going to be tremendous financial help for my family and I. But I have to give a lot of credit to everyone in TRiO for helping me apply and receive the scholarship.”
He specifically wanted to thank three people for helping him: “Casey Hulterberg, who walked me through the scholarship application process; Mike Evans, who encouraged me to apply; and Allison Tobey in the Writing Center, who helped me edit and perfect my essays.
“I may be the one who received the scholarship, but without TRiO and the Writing Center, I do not believe I could have done it.”
Duyck said that any students interested in applying for the scholarship could access the application by going to the Student Access Commission Application at
The application process starts in the fall of 2012, but the deadline is March 1, 2013.
By Tavis Evans