LMC Students Overcome Challenges, Win Scholarships

Mar 28, 2017
LMC students Rolando Hernandez, Mary Livings, Megan Short and Michael Kirish receive MI-CAPP scholarships for academic progress and achievement

Four Lake Michigan College students from Benton Harbor, Dowagiac and Stevensville received scholarships at a February Student Leadership Summit in Grand Rapids.  

Rolando Hernandez, Michael Kirish, Mary Livings and Megan Short won four out of the 14 statewide scholarships awarded by the Michigan College Access Programs and Personnel (MI-CAPP) organization in February. MI-CAPP, the State’s Education Opportunity Association chapter, is a non-profit which works to level the playing field for students who are among the first generation in their families to go to college, come from low income families or have a disability.

The students were awarded $500 for demonstrating academic progress or achievement. Each wrote a compelling essay about overcoming personal and environmental obstacles. They described their community service and leadership growth, and submitted letters of recommendation. 

Rolando Hernandez of Dowagiac is a first generation college student from a family of six. He is actively involved on campus as a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and as a resident assistant in LMC’s Beckwith Hall. He was chosen twice to speak at LMC's Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Celebration and was designated a 2017 Student of the Year.

Hernandez is an excellent role model who is passionate about science, helping his family and giving back to the community. He will earn his Associate of Science degree in May before transferring to Grand Valley State University to pursue a degree in the medical field.

Mary Livings of Stevensville first attended LMC in 1999, but left before completing her degree. A job loss in 2012 led to her return, and despite health issues and other obstacles, she persisted to earn three semesters on the Dean’s List before graduating last December with an Associate of Applied Science in Corrections Probation and Parole.

Whether volunteering through the United Way packing backpacks for school children, assisting with food boxes for senior citizens or making blankets for Emergency Shelter Services, Livings is motivated by helping others.

She will continue her good work as she transfers to Siena Heights University to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Community and Human Services with a concentration in Family Systems.

Megan Short of Dowagiac studies Child Development at LMC. In addition to working two jobs and parenting her six-year-old daughter, Short makes time to volunteer as an elementary school teacher's aide and to visit area high schools to talk with students about LMC’s education program. Short is President of the LMC Education Club and works in Student Services.

After she earns her Associate in Applied Science, Short will avoid a long commute by transferring to Western Michigan University-Southwest for her Bachelor’s degree in Child Development with a ZS teaching endorsement.

Michael Kirish of Benton Harbor became a college student 24 years after graduating from Edwardsburg High School. His path was complicated by homelessness and unemployment, but his resourcefulness and determination led him to academic success with three semesters on the Dean’s List and a first place prize in the Wellness Center Exercise Contest.

Kirish will receive a Welding Certificate and an Associate Degree in General Technology before transferring to Western Michigan University to study Industrial and Entrepreneurial Engineering.

The students are participants in LMC’s TRiO Student Support Services program which provides intensive help with study skills, academic advising, financial aid and university transfer assistance. A dedicated computer lab, and textbook and laptop lending programs are also available, along with opportunities to mentor other students and engage in volunteer service in local communities.

"The MI-CAPP Scholarship recognizes LMC students from diverse backgrounds who successfully navigate challenges to achieve academically and actively give back to our communities,” said Nancy Johnson, Student Support Services project director. “Their stories, commitment to education and community engagement inspire us all.”

For more information, visit www.lakemichigancollege.edu/sss or call (269) 927-8603.