Business Student Named Semi-Finalist for Prestigious National Scholarship
Northern Essex Business Transfer student Tiary Gonzalez of Haverhill is one of just eight community college students from Massachusetts chosen as a semi-finalist for the Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. The highly-selective, national scholarship awards recipients up to $40,000 to complete their bachelor’s degree at a four year college or university.
Just a few years ago, Gonzalez says she wouldn’t have dreamed her life would be like it is today. She moved to Haverhill from the Dominican Republic when she was just 17. With English as her second language, attending college at all seemed daunting. “But I decided to change my reality.” That determination led her to Northern Essex, where she enrolled in classes, despite having been out of school for nine years. “I was scared but really excited. I was determined, no matter how afraid I was,” she remembers.
A breakthrough came when she won an award in her English Composition I writing class. “I always see that happening to other people. I had to really work hard for it. That was a big turning point: if I did this with fear, what can I do without fear?” She says, for her, that started with not being afraid to speak up – something she hopes other students will take to heart. “Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and try to see fear as an opportunity. I think that changed my whole view on life. You have to feel the discomfort, that’s the only way you grow, in any setting.”
It turns out, Tiary Gonzalez was just getting started. She joined the volleyball team, the Civics Scholar Program, The National Society of Leadership & Success and became president of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, all while maintaining a perfect GPA. She’s also part of the Pathways to Academic and Career Excellence program (PACE), which is designed to connect first generation college students with resources and support. Gonzalez is currently working on a project to graduate with honors this spring and she will receive the Global Studies Department Award in Economics.
After graduation, Gonzalez plans to transfer to a four-year school and to major in finance. She’s already been accepted into five schools, including Boston University and Bentley University, and she’s waiting anxiously to hear from Northeastern. She also expects to find out any day now if she will be a finalist for the Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. No matter the outcome, she says she’s already gained so much from the process. “A few years back I would have thought ‘why bother?’ But I’m a different person now. If anything, I will gain that knowledge. Even if I don’t win I’m still happy. It shows everything is possible.”
The Business Transfer Program is designed to prepare students for further study toward the degree of Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Business by providing coursework in business administration and liberal arts. You can find more information here.