Meet the scholars

In the hard times of this pandemic, I lost my job and tranferred to the Univeristy of South Florida. Losing my job was frightening, because I wasn’t sure how I would be able to pay for college. But, as a recipient of the 2020 First-Year Generation Helios Foundation Scholarship, it has impacted me in many positive ways. It is helping me pay for college without the necessity to have a job, especially with Covid-19 going around. It is helping me to focus on my studies, in order to pursue my desired career. This scholarship is helping me save money, in which that money being saved is being used for a study abroad experience for this summer. Studying abroad in Japan is one step closer to my career goal and this is thanks to the Helios Foundation. They are helping me build my career experience for the future to achieve my goal of teaching English in East Asia.

Amparo Aguilera

World Languages and Cultures with a Concentration in Applied Linguistics

Hillsborough Community College

This scholarship has helped me to finish my last semester in the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at SCF. I was able to use the scholarship for books, travel expenses (going to clinical practice) and for equipment for my studies.

Yvette Alanis

Occupational Therapy Assistant

State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota

This scholarship has impacted my education in several ways. Thanks to the Helios Education Foundation Scholarship, I'm able to attend the University of Florida and pursue my career goal to become an elementary school teacher with an ESOL and Reading Endorsement. Not only will I be graduating this fall with a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education, but I also plan on continuing my education to earn my Master of Education in Elementary Education. Five years ago, I did not think it was possible, but thanks to the Helios Education Foundation Scholarship, I will be the first person in my family to earn a bachelor's and master's degree. Thank you, Helios Education Foundation Scholarship, for investing in my education and believing in me.

Maryse Alexis

Elementary Education

University of Florida

This scholarship has assisted me in pursuing my dreams of becoming a Registered Nurse. I am 30 years old and currently an LPN but struggle financially as I am trying to attend school and work at the same time. It has been quite a journey so far but I look forward to where I will be 5 years from now. I am truly grateful for any and all of the financial assistance that I have received.

Phylicia Ardelean


Palm Beach State College

One of my biggest obstacles in finishing school has been that I have to work too much to make ends meet. Receiving this scholarship has helped me to apply my all in college and work as hard as possible to finish. The financial assistance allowed me to be able to focus more on school and less on work. I am extremely grateful to the Helios Education Foundation.

Jenesa Armstrong

I.T. Management

Florida State College at Jacksonville

This monetary award has greatly helped me pay for this semester and is an extreme financial relief.This scholarship has permitted me to work less hours at my current job which allows me to spend more time on my studies and maintain my high GPA. My career ambition is to be an elementary school teacher or to teach ESE students in a self-contained classroom. A am considering earning my masters to specialize in ESE or ABA.

Chelsie Arrants

Elementary Education/Exceptional Student Education/ESOL

University of West Florida

This scholarship has impacted my education by allowing me to complete my degree by 2022. If I did not have the support of this scholarship, graduating from college would take me at least an additional year since I would have to save up money from my tutoring jobs to afford the cost of school and living. I am so thankful for this scholarship since it will enable me to graduate and begin working in my career as a middle school math teacher. I worked hard for three years to get into the degree program I am currently in, and now I am working hard to become the best math teacher I can be. I look forward to serving my community, Pinellas County, by teaching math in public schools for years to come.

Moriah Baker

Secondary Mathematics Education

St. Petersburg College

Dad worked in the steel mills of East Chicago and Mom worked as a church secretary. Neither had college degrees. Both made sure every day that I was going to go to college when I graduated and get a degree in SOMETHING. The desire for education was established at an early age by sitting on my mom's lap while she read as many books as I could talk her into. Once I could read on my own I got the treasure of my life - a library card. Then I could bring stacks and stacks of books home and escape into the worlds of those authors. My life took a detour as an adult with marriage, children and all of their involvements, but my desire to learn never left. When I came to St Petersburg College I found my love for learning returned with a burning passion. My degree program incorporates my love for children and for administration. As a director of an Early Childhood Development Center I can grow a center from a business aspect and as an educator I can grow young minds. The Helios First Generation Scholarship makes my educational dreams and goals a possibility.

Courtney Ballestero

Education Studies and Community Leadership Preschool Subplan

St. Petersburg College

This scholarship has given me the oppurtunity to continue and finish my major with FSCJ. This scholarship has helped me out financially do to the pandemic as a realtor my business has taken a hit. My goal is to complete the interior design program by summer of 2021 and receiving this scholarship will help me get there.

Nerlande Baptiste

Interior design

Florida State College at Jacksonville

This scholarship has impacted my education by making it to where I am not stressed about where the money for my education is going to come from. It has helped me be able to pursue my dreams of being a teacher.

Amelia Barton

Elementary Education

Gulf Coast State College

I am thankful for the Helios Education Foundation First-Generation Scholarship because it has helped relieve some of the financial burden of furthering my education. My ultimate goal is to help better this world for everyone in it, mainly through research, project management, supply chain improvements, and a focus on green initiatives.

Alexis Baugher

Business Analytics

Florida Polytechnic University

My name is Mercedes Bennett, I am one of the recipients of the Helios First Generation Award Scholarship. This scholarship has helped me lessen the burden of some financial stress (especially with bus fare). 2020 has been very rough for me, my car gave out on me and with me working 2 jobs and attending FIU as a full time student. I had to uber and take the bus everywhere. All of my money was going on transportation. With this scholarship I was able to have enough uber money and bus fare while being able to save up for a down payment for another car. From the bottom of my heart I thank you for giving me this scholarship. It has helped me out a lot.

Mercedes Bennett

Elementary Education

Florida International University

The Helios Education Foundation First-Generation Scholarship has helped me with my college career by alleviating some of my tuition costs and allowing me to focus more on school rather than work.

Sharie Bereda


Palm Beach State College

Thank you Helios for the scholarship it helped me tremendously in school. As a Father and Husband and the primary provider for my family it can be difficult balancing work and school. I'm very grateful for having been selected. Thank you

Felix Bermudez

Electrical Technologies

Lake-Sumter State College

My name is Anastasiia Bernadtska, I am currently majoring in Associate in Science in Nursing program. After graduation, I plan to enroll into the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at CFK and continue my education and eventually build a career as a nurse. During the course of my studies, I have managed to maintain a GPA of around 3.83. This has been a real accomplishment for me, and something I have worked very hard to achieve as English is my second language and I have to work full time to support myself. My grades are very important to me and I am proud of the achievements I have accomplished. My family is also very proud of me. My parents never had the opportunity to attend college, so I am the first in my family to earn a college degree. I am happy that I am setting the example for my own children and hope that they will one day follow in my footsteps and earn their own degree. I moved to United States from Ukraine 10 years ago. Without support of anyone and hard work I have been trying to have enough finance to afford to get a degree. I was very happy and appreciative to learn that I was selected as the recipient of your scholarship. Receiving this scholarship will help reduce my financial burdens and provide assistance for me as I continue my education. Thanks to this scholarship, I will be able to reduce my work schedule and focus more on my studies. My educational pursuits would not be possible without generous support from your scholarship. Thank to your general support, I feel that I am one step closer to achieving my goals, this award is very meaningful not only financially, but emotionally as well as it has strengthened my believe in myself. This award will serve as an inspiration in my current studies as well as in my future undertakings and it means a lot to me as it opens up many opportunities. Receiving this award only boosts my motivation towards achieving my goals. Thank you so much for helping students of the College of the Florida Keys like me achieve my dreams.

Anastasiia Bernadtska


The College of The Florida Keys

The Helios Education Foundation First-Generation Scholarship has impacted my education by allowing me the opportunity to be able to pursue and continue my education while lessening my financial stress as I attend University. I have been able to chase after my dream of going into a STEM field as a Computer Science major with a concentration in Software Engineering. Growing up in a less privileged community, I realized the value of a college education while facing adversity from financial and academic struggles in University. I came from a small town in which no one in my immediate family had ever attended University. I had to learn a plethora of information by myself while also teaching my parents since they were born and raised in India. I am forever grateful to have this opportunity as I started working at a family business at 7. My dreams and ambitions are designing and developing the industry's latest technology as a Software Engineer. Our technology and science continue to change every day rapidly, and I would like to be a part of that development. I hope to do this by working my way up on internships and working with familiar companies around the Lakeland, Tampa, or Orlando areas. I want to make a difference in the community by helping provide solutions to some of the problems we have in our daily society. Thank you for providing me this opportunity to continue to pursue a STEM career here at Florida Polytechnic University.

Ramnik Bharath

Computer Science

Florida Polytechnic University

While my family and I struggle with our finances this scholarship will help in a tremendous way. The pressure that will elevate from me will help stay focus on what is really important. That is my education. For my career, I want to work in the medical field to be a radiographic technologist then I aspire to run my own mobile business in that field helping my community the best way I can. Again I want to thank you for the opportunity for this scholarship.

Jefferson Brinvert


State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota

It motivates me to keep going. It feels good to know I am acknowledged and that there are people who support my education decision. Going back to school was a struggle, from trying to find a babysitter, not being able to afford daycare, being the only working parent in the household to trying to manage work. I am forever grateful for being one of the chosen ones for the scholarship.

Jeanette Buron

Exceptional Student Education

Broward College

The Helios Education Foundation First-Generation Scholarship has impacted my life in a manner that I am eternally grateful for. Becoming a recipient of this scholarship allows me to focus and attain my goals regarding my degree and future career path. This scholarship allows me to focus on receiving my Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education, and has allowed me to think ahead and create the next steps in my career: Obtain a Master's degree. I am appreciative of all that the Helios Education Foundation First-Generation Scholarship has done for me, as it has given me the opportunity to excel and succeed in ways I would have never imagined.

Claudia Byrd

Elementary Education

Florida Gulf Coast University

The time I have spent at Lake-Sumter State College is the most important part of my life. This experience has given me confidence to achieve something that I used to believe as impossible. LSSC is a multicultural institution, where students with varied cultural and professional backgrounds are valued and pampered. Receiving this scholarship is very important to me, because, as a female Latina, it gives me the opportunity to pursue a higher education - an opportunity many do not have. As the first of my family to attend post-secondary education, this scholarship offers the opportunity to accomplish my dreams of going to college and succeeding in life. This scholarship means a lot to me. Not only does it help me with my education, it will also help me teach others the importance of taking pride in and celebrating Latino heritage. Being Latina brings great pride to me; I am incredibly blessed to receive this scholarship. Because of this scholarship, I can focus on pursuing my dreams instead of how I'm going to pay for college. This scholarship shows that people believe in my abilities and potential. By awarding me the grant from the Helios Education Foundation, it eases my financial burden and allows me to focus on the most important aspect of school: learning. Receiving this scholarship is not only a great encouragement, but it also inspires me to help others and continue to give back to the community.

Ines Cabrera Moreno

Associate of Arts, General Transfer Degree

Lake-Sumter State College

This scholarship has impacted my education by relieving me of some financial stress . I am able to focus on my academics and provide myself with the necessities I need to be secure and successful.

Sha’Nya Calixte


Florida State University

This scholarship made the difference in me being able to continue my education without having to further burden myself with student loans or take on a third job. Since I was able to worry less about the financial aspect of my degree, I was able to focus more on my studies and have become a straight A student with the confidence and skills to make a real impact on my future students!

Mary Calkins

Educational Studies and Community Leadership

St. Petersburg College

The Helios Education Foundation First-Generation Scholarship has tremendously impacted my education by helping me fund my education when my parents nor I cannot. It's allowed me to be worry-free about accruing debt and has allowed me to focus a lot of my energy and time on my studies rather than other activities as a way of finding a means to fund my degree. Hence, I am very grateful!

Ritchel Calvaire

Computer Engineering

Florida Polytechnic University

This scholarship was such a surprise and a blessing. Being a single parent and fulfilling my promise to my belated mother to complete my college degree and be the first in my family to graduate college. I am currently working full time and continuing to complete my bachelors degree full time as well. It’s difficult sometimes but will be well worth it in the end. I would have been about to do this without you. Thank you again.

Sabrina Campbell

BAS Supervision and Management

Florida State College at Jacksonville