Founded by Kenneth and Hallie Ford in 1957, the foundation supports rural communities in Southwest Oregon, and has since grown to help students from across the state to overcome socioeconomic and other traditional barriers to finishing college degrees.
Students are selected through a rigorous process on the merits of their academic potential, character and commitment to give back to their communities. The scholarship covers 90% of educational costs from the college’s cost of attendance (tuition,
fees, room and board, personal costs) for up to $40,000 per year.
The three MHCC Transitions/Transiciones Ford Foundation Scholars for 2020 are:
Cristina Gomez, Ford Opportunity Scholarship
I started my career at MHCC taking the Transiciones Program, where I learned many things including how to work toward my future goals. I arrived at Transiciones at a difficult time when I was coming out of a violent relationship with my daughter's
father. Through the Transiciones Program, instructor Elizabeth Perry supported me to rescue and pursue my goals. I recognized my strengths and resumed my passion for teaching since in Mexico I worked as a teacher in very underserved communities.
Studying here in the United States didn’t seem like it was an option because I had no financial resources to pay for my education. In Transiciones I learned that if you want to accomplish an objective you need to plan, organize, look for resources
and make each step lead you toward your goal.
What I want most is to improve my teaching skills to be able to work in a school. Education for me is a human act and a human right. When I worked in Mexico and from my volunteer work in Portland, I realized the value of learning. In Mexico, I committed
myself to working in the mountains, where there is extreme poverty among indigenous people. There, I worked with children who do not speak the Spanish language and I helped them to improve their school performance. When you teach students something
valuable and good, that knowledge will remain with them for a long time, so it’s like a gift that will be useful in their lives. With the Ford Opportunity Scholarship I have been awarded, I will be able to follow my plans, step by step, which
are to complete my Associate Oregon Transfer Degree at MHCC. Then, I plan to transfer to PSU to complete my courses towards my bachelor’s degree, and then earn my master’s in teaching. I plan to become an elementary school teacher. Having the
financial resources for my education will allow me to focus on my school activities and get good grades until I reach my final academic goal. This opportunity changes my life for the good, and that is why I am committed to give back to the community
serving through my work as a teacher.
Mariangel Aleman Torres, Ford Scholars Transfer Scholarship
My name is Mariangel Aleman Torres, I am a pre-veterinary student who is passionate about educating our community about the importance of the conservation of wildlife and natural habitats. I was born in Santa Clara, Cuba, the heart of the largest
island in the Caribbean Sea. I always knew I wanted to work with animals and in the science field, but I didn’t think I would make it since it’s a competitive field and I had never seen someone like me in the field. Thanks to the support of my
high school science teachers and the Transiciones Program at MHCC, I gained courage, skills and confidence to follow my dreams and be the young woman I had dreamed of becoming. I went from almost failing to an A-B student in less than a year.
Through all of my experiences, I found my passion and dream career. I will work to share and instill a sense of respect at the thought of sharing our world with majestic animals that preceded humans by thousands of years. My purpose is to be able
to help populations of endangered species, from mammals to birds and reptiles, thrive in the wild by understanding their anatomy, adaptations, behaviors and unique qualities. I am so grateful for all of my teachers, advisors and the scholarships
I have received to continue my education and pursue my dreams. Recently, I received the news that I am a recipient for the Ford Transfer Scholars Scholarship, and I could not be more happy and grateful for this opportunity. I plan to attend Oregon
State University, earn my Bachelor of Biology degree and research better conservation and rehabilitation techniques to help wildlife. I then plan to earn my combined DVM and PhD to become a research veterinarian.
Maria Guadalupe Clemente, Ford Opportunity Scholarship
My name is Maria Clemente. I am originally from Michoacán, Mexico. I am single parent to a wonderful and smart 14-year-old teenager. When I was 12 years old, my parents immigrated to the United States to pursue greater opportunities. As a child of
immigrants, I learned to take responsibility for my family and myself at a very young age. I strived to be the first generation in my family to graduate from a university and I will set a steppingstone for my future family so they will not have
to struggle as I did. My passion to become a nurse started in a small town in Michoacán, Mexico when I was a little girl. I grew up witnessing the limited medical care in my underserved community. I have been working in the medical field for the
last 11 years helping nurses provide high-quality and empathetic care to a wide variety of patients.
I earned my Associate degree in Science last year as I completed my nursing prerequisites with a 4.0 GPA from Mt. Hood Community College. My current goal is to get my Bachelor of Science with a major in Nursing degree. My career goal is to become
a Licensed Nurse Practitioner, and then upon completing the NP program to work providing care to medically underserved communities. I have a special interest in working with the Latino/Hispanic population, including the migrant farmworker population.
This interest has stemmed from both personal experience and exposure to current issues related to lack of diverse providers.
About Transitions/Transiciones: Transitions and its sister program, Transiciones, are career planning and college preparation programs for those who may find it challenging to begin or continue with their college education. The program
provides a highly supportive environment that helps students develop career goals, get comfortable with the college and all its resources, make friends within a support network of professionals and peers, and develop life skills like time management
and study strategies. Students also learn how to apply for scholarships and to develop life-long career development skills.
Transitions/Transiciones son programas de planificación de carrera y preparación para el colegio para mujeres que se enfrentan a barreras para acceder a la educación. Los programas ayudan a las alumnas a desarrollar una meta de carrera, llegar a conocer
el colegio y todos sus recursos, hacer amistades, desarrollar el manejo del tiempo y a crear mejores habilidades de estudio. Además las alumnas aprenden como aplicar para becas y como obtener otros recursos para pagar sus estudios. La alumna que
termina Transiciones adquiere habilidades que le sirve toda la vida en su desarrollo personal.