This is first in a series about the college career cycle for a UCC student.
For the 2018-19 academic year, the UCC Foundation awarded $473,710 in scholarship funds, part of which were raised at the annual Legacy Ball fundraiser. “It’s very rewarding to see students reach their educational goals,” Honey McNamara said. McNamara is UCC’s scholarship and donor relations coordinator.
McNamara described what inspires her in her job. “The stories of our veteran students, homeless students, and students who have suffered great loss in their lifetimes are the most inspirational to me,” McNamara said.
McNamara, is at the helm of UCC’s Office of Advancement as the expert on all scholarship activities. She enjoys handling student accounts for any outside agencies providing scholarships to the current student body and future students, in addition to managing the UCC Foundation funds distribution through its spring and summer award periods.
When speaking about her job, McNamara beams with pride. She said the job fosters enduring relationships, and she says she appreciates the opportunity to learn and grow from every student interaction.
The Legacy Ball is UCC’s annual fundraiser. Each year the UCC Foundation spotlights one of their scholarship recipients. This year it was student Joyce Blair, wife and mother of four, a local member of the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians. Blair’s advice to students on the fence about applying is, “Do it! Don’t hold back, you’re missing out!”
Blair applied for UCC’s scholarships with McNamara’s assistance. “Honey walked me through the application literally step-by-step as my 12 year old son sat with me.” Blair had no computer knowledge, and Honey invested three hours with her to walk her through step by step and overcome her lack of computer skill.
As the only scholarship coordinator, McNamara sometimes finds herself being challenged to create balance between her commitment to putting students’ needs first and devoting increasingly more time to the donors. McNamara awaits the days when students can go to college without financial stress as she goes about assuring the distribution of as many dollars as possible into students’ accounts. Much of that growth depends on her continued efforts securing new scholarships and new donors through the UCC Foundation.
McNamara’s assistance to students is enhanced by her own personal experiences obtaining her Associate of Arts, Oregon Transfer while working on UCC’s campus. “I started working here as a nine month employee in 2004 in the cafeteria,” McNamara said. “Back then the cafeteria was run by the bookstore. After two years my job was being phased out and I was offered a job as the cashier in the Finance Office. I did that job until March of 2015 when I accepted the position as the scholarship and donor relations coordinator.
Not all students need a three hour time slot to apply for scholarships. “Our application only takes about an hour to fill out and gives students a chance at over 100 different opportunities,” McNamara informed. She stressed the importance of starting the scholarship application early, allowing time to gather information, giving someone time to proofread your work, and giving references time to respond. A professional application is key, and grammar, punctuation, and content are graded, McNamara noted.
“Scholarships are not only for the students with the best GPA’s or the least amount of money. You are worthy of the same opportunities as every other student. Your chances of getting a scholarship if you don’t apply are zero. Take the time, take a chance. You might get a surprise!” McNamara said.
McNamara also takes care to connect students with appropriate student services support on campus to further increase their success: Advising, Accessibility Services, the TOP program, the Enrollment Management team, and peer groups.