A new roster of college students has won assistance from Inside Self-Storage. The ISS Scholarship Program encourages educational pursuits and rewards the hard work of students closely affiliated with self-storage. Entrants are required to work in the industry or have immediate family members employed by self-storage or related companies. Dozens of qualified candidates applied in 2006, including high school students and seasoned professionals.
This year’s scholarship winners demonstrated an outstanding commitment to completing higher studies and a determination to succeed. In January, Inside Self-Storage awarded five $2,000 scholarships to:
- Molly Bettencourt
- Allison Mallette
- Ryan Schmitz
- Madison Silverstein
- Courtney Stevens
Major/Field of Study: Communications
College/University: University of Massachusetts-Amherst
“Communication has the power to influence behaviors and inform people,” Molly Bettencourt says. With a degree in communications from the University Massachusetts-Amherst, she hopes to secure a career in public relations. “Whether the job is controlling a rumor or running an event, organization and leadership are key parts to being successful,” she says.
Bettencourt is involved in several extracurricular activities that have taught her leadership skills and the value of community involvement. “The lessons I learned from the activities I have participated in have crossed over into my schooling and future career goals,” she says.
In middle school, she was a peer leader and regularly helped with activities such as Thanksgiving food drives and Red Ribbon Week. In addition, she has been working since eighth grade.
At Dighton Rehoboth Regional High School, Bettencourt’s scholastic work earned her a 4.0 GPA and she was inducted as a member of the National Honor Society. During her senior year as a student in the advanced studio art class, she was chosen to paint the windows of the town hall for the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremonies.
Throughout high school, Bettencourt participated in several sports including field hockey and basketball, serving as varsity captain for the latter. She is also an accomplished equestrian who has competed for many years. “Riding has taught me many life lessons such as persistence, patience and a strong work ethic,” she says.
Bettencourt is inspired by her mother, a middle school art teacher in the Taunton, Mass., public school system. “I feel as though art is an important aspect of our culture,” the scholarship winner says. “It jumpstarts the imagination and opens the mind to new ideas.”
Major/Field of Study: Bachelor’s in early elementary education, concurrently with master’s in curriculum and instruction cognate in reading
College/University: Louisiana Tech University
Allison Mallette is a senior at Louisiana Tech University (LTU) where she is concurrently finishing a bachelor’s and taking classes for a master’s degree. Despite this heavy scholastic load, she has maintained a 3.8 GPA.
Mallette’s love for teaching is reflected in her school and community activities. She is a member and treasurer of Students of Louisiana Early Childhood Association and AA+PEL, a professional organization for teachers. She is also employed in the dean’s office at the LTU College of Education.
For more than six years, Mallette has been a volunteer at the Louisiana Special Education Center, which houses mentally and physically challenged children and young adults. She also participates in GRACE, a camp that strives to meet the needs of children with an incarcerated parent. Other community-related activities include vacation bible school, Sunday school assistant and cooking and serving Thanksgiving meals to the needy. She participates in two community cleanup programs, Takin’ it to the Streets and The Big Event.
Mallette helped care for the hurricane victims housed at her church. Through organizations at Louisiana Tech University, she tutored children who were displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Mallette’s father, Lester, is the source of her strength and dedication. Her father juggles the responsibilities of owning two self-storage facilities and being the sole provider for her and her mother, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis several years ago. He is also committed to his community, she says.
“My father taught me that education is one of the most important things to have,” she says. “I love working with children and believe there are few things in life as rewarding as watching them grow in their knowledge and abilities.”
Ryan A. Schmitz
Major/Field of Study: Business administration/finance
College/University: St. Norbert College
Family and friends who know Ryan A Schmitz describe him as ambitious, honest, focused and a dreamer. He is also hardworking, as attested by the hours he dedicates to his job in addition to carrying a full curriculum at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wis.
Schmitz will graduate next year with a bachelor’s in business administration/finance. He also is in the process of obtaining his securities license through night classes at a technical school, and has already secured a position as a financial representative for Northwestern Mutual following graduation. Schmitz’s ultimate goal is to start a real estate investment firm. This spring semester, he is studying in Australia.
Despite his heavy class schedule, Schmitz finds time to earn a paycheck. He has worked 60 to 80 hours per week for several summers to pay for his education, and continues to be employed about 20 hours per week while in school, maintaining a 3.0 GPA.
Schmitz is the historian and webmaster for Delta Upsilon International Fraternity. He is also the chess club secretary, vice president for the Inter-Fraternal council and a project leader for Students for Free Enterprise (SIFE).
Schmitz has participated in financial-planning competition at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and regional and national SIFE competitions. He is also a SIFE leader on campus, educating people about free enterprise and personal finance, and has been a speaker representative for the college.
“Educating people about financial literacy is something I feel is not done enough in our schools,” he says. “Financial knowledge is important if Americans hope to continue to lead the world’s financial markets.”
Community volunteering is also important to Schmitz. He has participated in Salvation Army programs, worked with Special Olympics, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Habitat for Humanity, and Journeymen, a campus organization. In addition, he has been involved in highway clean-up programs, clothing drives and community restoration projects. Volunteerism has instilled values of honesty and hard work and has given him a deeper appreciation of what he has in his life, he says.
Schmitz credits being the son of a self-made entrepreneur with giving him his life’s direction and work ethics. His father owns Lok-Safe, building the company up through years of hard work and dedication in the residential-investment field.
Major/Field of Study: Pre-medicine
College/University: Not selected as of press time
Although Madison Silverstein has a love of literature and the arts, she also excels in science and math. Her ambition is to become a plastic surgeon working primarily with trauma victims. The senior at J.J. Pearce High School in Dallas maintains a 3.9 GPA while participating in several extracurricular activities and community programs.
Silverstein’s curriculum consists of all advanced placement classes. She has received multiple academic awards including one for outstanding achievement in pre-calculus and one for having the highest GPA in biology. She was also selected to be a “Mustang Star,” an award given to students who demonstrate strong leadership and dedication.
Academics are important to Silverstein as evidenced by her membership in the National Honors Society. Silverstein has published poetry in her high school literary magazine and in the Creative Communication’s Young Poets contest. She is vice president of the Literati Book Club, and is on the staff of the Oxala Literati magazine. Author Naomi Nye selected Silverstein to participate in a writing workshop. She also serves on the yearbook staff. And she manages to find the time to be involved in her school’s pre-medicine and Spanish clubs.
Silverstein helps educate the community about the importance of preserving and appreciating the environment. As a member of her school’s Environmental Club, she helped start a recycling program on campus. She is a volunteer for the American Diabetes Association, where she created databases and organized mail outs. And she has supervised children in arts and crafts at the Dallas Children’s Museum.
Ms. Cappetta, a math teacher at J.J. Pearce High School, is Silverstein’s role model. “She is a teacher whose love for her job is demonstrated on a daily basis, which makes her class worthwhile,” Silverstein says. Through the dedication and enthusiasm for her subject, Cappetta was able to instill in Silverstein the knowledge of mathematics necessary for a career in medicine, Silverstein says.
Courtney J. Stevens
Major/Field of Study: Sports Studies and Psychology
College/University: University of New Hampshire
Courtney J. Stevens fully understands the price of pursuing her dreams. Not only has she competed successfully as an alpine skier since she was young, she came back from a major injury to join her college’s team. And she did it while working to support the cost of school and sport.
“I had to learn at a young age that dedication to training, school and work would be the only way to afford the expenses of high-end athletics,” Stevens says. To continue to compete while working toward her academics goals, she left her local high school to attend Stratton Mountain School (SMS), a boarding school in Stratton Mountain, Vt., geared toward students with outstanding potential in winter Alpine sports.
Stevens is a freshman at the University of New Hampshire, earning a double major in sports studies and psychology. She aspires to attend graduate school and earn a doctorate in sports psychology. She is a National Collegiate Athletic Association athlete and member of her school’s ski team.
When the skiing team isn’t practicing, Stevens volunteers as a coach for an eighth-grade soccer team. She also coached her community’s lacrosse teams. During her junior and senior years of high school, Stevens tutored other students in English and French. Her participation earned her the SMS Margaret Schlacter Award and the prestigious Headmaster’s Award.
Stevens has not only dedicated herself to years of training but during the past summer worked two jobs to help pay for her tuition. A severe injury while competing meant surgery, therapy and significant expenses. During this time, Steven’s SMS coach played a major role in supporting and encouraging her.
“I doubt if anyone has inspired and guided me more through my teen years than my former coach Aili Ojala,” Stevens says. Ojala was also her dorm parent for three years and supported her during difficult times when she injured herself. It is Steven’s intent to use the positive ideas and attitude about sport she learned from Ojala to motivate other young athletes.
“As an athlete who has been seriously injured and faced the rigors of sport, I want to give back and help other athletes perform to be best of their abilities,” she says.