Optimal Announces Summer 2022 Scholarship Winners

Optimal provides critical and up-to-date information on college degrees and career paths to individuals pursuing affordable, convenient, and high-quality education. We also strive to help make college a reality for deserving students who are struggling to pay for school by offering financial assistance through quarterly scholarship awards. We are pleased to announce the winners for the summer 2022 season.

  • Undergraduate Scholarship winner: Dania Kabalo, pursuing a bachelor's degree in social work at the University of Texas at Austin.
  • Community College Scholarship winner: Ebony Dennis, completing an associate degree in business administration at Valencia College.
  • Online Degree Scholarship winner: Tami Grant, completing a bachelor's degree in education at Walden University.

While each applicant has a unique story, they all share the drive and commitment to finishing school to pursue their career goals. Each has faced hardship that has fueled their determination and desire to create a better future.

Dania has chosen an unusual educational path: earning her undergraduate degree in social work before enrolling in dental school. Her ultimate goal of becoming a dentist stems from her childhood, where she experienced the consequences of lacking access to necessary dental care from an early age. She hopes to help others in similar situations and is eager to use her skills in social work to help patients overcome a fear of the dentist, which she knows first-hand. "I think this was because there was a lack of comfort and communication with younger patients and the dentist since the main goal of many dentists is to get as many kids quickly in and out of the clinic," Dania says. As a first-generation student of color, Dania has endured financial hardship and is grateful to receive financial assistance in pursuing her dream of becoming a different kind of dentist. "I believe that this scholarship will assist in furthering my education with ease considering my circumstances."

Ebony has worked in public service at a local government organization for over ten years. She enjoys her job and wants to grow within the agency but feels restricted from doing so without a degree. As a single parent of two, Ebony finds it challenging to make ends meet and pay for school, especially in the current economic climate. "This scholarship will take away the stress I have for paying for my fall and spring classes," Ebony explains. "I work a full-time job and have been putting in extra hours to pay for my classes. This will allow me to cut back on the overtime and focus on the work needed." After graduating with her associate degree, Ebony plans on continuing to work in public service and helping others and hopes to continue her education to pursue her ultimate career goals. "Within the first five years after college, I will continue to work hard and get closer to my dreams. I have always wanted to be a teacher or counselor," Ebony says. She is hopeful that her scholarship "will get me in the right direction to be either one."

Tami is a licensed American Sign Language teacher passionate about teaching and engaging with her students but would like to do more. "I am seeking to be more versatile and valuable to my students, my school, and my community," she says. After she finishes her degree, Tami's plans include "teaching classes in Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) and running monthly parent meetings to help parents find resources for their students and prepare them for college." Teaching sign language and supporting the Deaf community holds special meaning for Tami as her daughter and grandson are both Deaf. To help take care of her family and make ends meet, Tami works as an interpreter in addition to teaching full-time. Unfortunately, she still finds it difficult to pay for school, so she is very thankful to have won a scholarship." My scholarship funds will help me continue my dream of working with Deaf children around the state and their families," Tami says. "I am so grateful for companies and organizations that believe in the power of education!"

The Optimal Scholarship Program may help you meet your academic goals if you need financial assistance to earn a college degree. We award scholarships to students enrolled in community colleges and four-year universities either online or on campus. Visit our scholarship page for eligibility requirements, application deadlines, and information about previous recipients.