Deanna Hardy and Crystal Stanton are juniors at Youngstown State University. Although they’ve chosen different career paths, both volunteer, hold multiple jobs, maintain high GPAs and somehow find time to sleep every night.
Hardy and Stanton are recipients of the Women Retirees of YSU scholarship, awarded for meeting criteria of the scholarship and exemplifying excellence.
The Women Retirees of YSU started the scholarship in November 2009. They started it as a way to give back to the future female innovators attending YSU.
Scholarship applicants must be female YSU students of at least a junior ranking, have a 3.0 GPA and write an essay describing how they will use the scholarship.
Hardy and Stanton were chosen out of six applicants. They were each awarded $1,000. Traditionally, the organization awards only one scholarship, but Marlene Dailey, a member of the Women Retirees of YSU, said both ladies were equally qualified and deserving.
“They are two young ladies who looked good on paper and are just wonderful in person,” Dailey said.
Dailey said their essays stood out above all others, which was a deciding factor in awarding them the scholarship.
“It was heartwarming that they put so much thought behind planning their education,” Dailey said.
Stanton, an integrated language arts major, is a nontraditional student who has been attending YSU periodically for seven years.
She said her federal student loans are close to running out, and she worried about how she was going to pay for her last three semesters before graduation.
When she started at YSU in the fall of 2005, she took out extra money to pay for her living expenses, not realizing there was a lifetime limit. To date, she’s taken out $47,000.
“This is actually the first scholarship I’ve received,” Stanton said. “It was nice to finally be recognized for all my hard work.”
Hardy is a human resources major. She primarily works to pay her way through college and said she was thankful to receive the scholarship.
“I was very excited,” Hardy said. “I work very hard to pay for college, and it’s nice to have that relief.”
Outside of the classroom, she works as a peer mentor at YSU and at a tanning salon. She also interns at Dental Express.
“I had to learn how to study when I came to college. In high school, I was an OK student, but when you come to college, it’s such a different level, and they expect more,” Hardy said.
Prioritizing and reminding herself that she’s in college to receive an education keeps her motivated to achieve, Hardy said.
“There’s not a lot of time for other stuff. You really have to stay focused,” Hardy said.
Stanton works at the Department of Health Professions at YSU, and she volunteers at the Youngstown Metro Church and a pregnancy help center. She’s also a member of the YSU Women’s Club.
She said balancing volunteering with work and school is a juggling act.
“It’s a lot about sometimes you have to juggle things and make choices and prioritize,” Stanton said. “Sometimes things do fall through the cracks. Some days, you can’t go to the gym, go to church and get all your homework done.”
To celebrate their scholarship recipients, the Women Retirees of YSU treated Hardy and Scranton to a luncheon.
“It was cool to actually sit down and talk with them. They were actually interested in us and where we are going,” Hardy said.
Hardy and Scranton said they’re thankful to receive the scholarship.
“Our goal is to give back as best we can,” Dailey said.