Scholarship Allows TGen Intern to Continue Her Education Future at ASU Credited to Participation in TGen's Helios Scholars Program

Posted on: February 3, 2010

Sarah Albinda, a TGen undergraduate intern, has been named to the 2010 Coca-Cola All- State Academic Team, earning a two-year tuition waiver that will enable her to complete her science education at Arizona State University.

Without the award, Albinda said, she would not have enough money to seek her bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences after graduating this spring with an Associate in Science Degree from Phoenix College.
The academic competition is sponsored by Arizona Phi Theta Kappa, the American Association of Community Colleges, USA TODAY and Coca-Cola, and recognizes outstanding community college students for their commitment to academic achievement, leadership and community service.

Her award also will result in a scholarship of between $1,000 and $1,500, which will be announced later this month (January), and qualifies her for a national scholarship program that will be announced by USA TODAY in April.

Albinda and her mentor, TGen Research Associate Catherine Mancini, credited the award to Albinda's participation in this summer's 2009 TGen Helios Scholars Program. This eight-week internship - in which high school, undergraduate and graduate students work one-on-one with researchers in TGen laboratories - is funded by the Phoenix-based Helios Education Foundation.

"There is no way I could have won without participating in the Helios Scholars program at TGen. Here, I have so many resources available, and that gave me a significant advantage. including competitive hands-on experience and access to amazing people." said Albinda, who works in the laboratory of Dr. Heather Cunliffe, Head of TGen's Breast and Ovarian Cancer Research Unit.

Albinda didn't find out about the scholarship opportunity until just three weeks before its deadline. She realized her research internship at TGen could be leveraged for this application, so she pushed herself to complete the necessary requirements. These included: an essay detailing her experience as a Helios Scholar; several short-answer questions about her decision to attend community college; two letters of recommendation; and an essay about her involvement in the community and on campus, including work as president of the college Christian Club, a Phoenix College cheerleader, a campus representative of the academic honor society Phi Theta Kappa, and interning 15 hours a week at TGen.

Albinda said she did not have the money to continue her education without taking out a loan and putting undue financial pressure on her family. Winning the award solved that problem.

"When I heard about this scholarship, I thought, ‘Wow, this is my dream.' Personally, it means a lot to be able to pay for my own education. My goal is to be able to graduate without ever having to take out a loan for tuition," Albinda said. Albinda plans to become a medical doctor, using what she has learned at TGen to help cancer patients. Mancini said Albinda's success is a credit to the Helios program and the high-caliber research opportunities provided by TGen. "Helios provides a whole new level of opportunity for students. It is a diverse program and this is a diverse job,'' Mancini said. "We were excited to work with Sarah because of her interdisciplinary skills which we needed for her position as a biospecimen technician in our laboratory. Because of her abilities, she was able to continue her internship and extend her skills at TGen. She has definitely exceeded our expectations."

Category: College and Career Readiness

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