Natalie Fowler, a BMCC pre-clinical nursing student and mother of two, was stunned when she found out she was one of the only 250 out of 100,000 applicants to win a $1,000 scholarship from Coca-Cola.
"Surprised, happy, astonished … shocked," were the words Fowler used to explain her emotions. "When I opened that letter, it felt really good."
The Coca-Cola Scholarship is a national award for students at two-year colleges who devote at least 100 hours to serving their community. A school can nominate one student and approximately 250 students are selected nationwide out of 100,000 applicants.
Coca-Cola presented the $1,000 to BMCC to be used as credit toward classes and books for Fowler, who is working her way towards an associate's degree in nursing at BMCC on a part-time basis.
For roughly the past ten years, Fowler worked in and out of hospitals and nursing homes. Then, she joined the organization “Helping Hands of America,” a non-profit dedicated to improving the quality of life for seniors who wish to remain in their own homes, but may need assistance because of the normal occurrences of aging such as reduced eyesight, arthritis, and diminished mobility.
"I go with them to the bank, laundromat, and food stores. I help them balance their checkbook. I keep them company," Fowler said. "I’m there to help them keep a sense of normalcy in their life."
Fowler, who is the mother of 3-year-old twins, said the money will benefit her enormously. She used an example of the book for her latest class -- Anatomy and Physiology I -- costing $130.
"Being a mom, I have to pay rent, feed a family, and then figure out my tuition and books," she said. "This is a nice bit of relief. It’s going to help in a big way."