Josh Graham, Student
Joshua Graham began taking classes at Howard Community College in September 2000, but he realized over several semesters that he did not have the maturity or the preparation to handle the workload of a college student. Recognizing something had to change, he made the difficult decision to put his education on hold and go to work.
Over the next several years, Graham worked a variety of jobs, ranging from sales to Verizon contractor, home remodeling, and environmental restoration.
“Although I found success, I never found happiness or contentment,” explains Graham. “Something inside felt unfulfilled.”
At that point, he made the decision to return to his education and embrace the challenge of college classes. His experience at a former environmental restoration company combined with a passion for the discipline of science resulted in him choosing the environmental science major at Howard Community College.
As he approached his final semester at the college, Graham received additional financial support for his education as one of more than 1,800 recipients of the new, need-based Pathway Scholarship available at the college. The Pathway Scholarship was made possible by a generous $2.5 million grant from the Howard County government.
The scholarship, which is available in amounts ranging from $600 to 1,200, is only available to local Howard County, Maryland residents who demonstrate financial aid. To ensure the scholarship application was simple, the college only requires that students fill out the Federal Application for Student Financial Aid to be considered.
“I am grateful to the Howard County government for recognizing that the cost of a college education should never stand in the way of attaining pathways to success,” said Dr. Kate Hetherington, president. “With this investment, the county is enriching the lives of our students and those around them.”
Pathway Scholarship funding went to the Howard Community College Educational Foundation, which set aside $500,000 at the request of the county to encourage matching donations from community members. Through its Pathway Scholarship: Match to Grow campaign, the foundation will grow the county’s $2.5 million investment into $3 million for student scholarships.
Pathway Scholarship recipients range from dually enrolled high school students, recent high school graduates, and veterans to returning students like Graham. With the Pathway Scholarship, he was able to pay back some of his college loans and cover the costs of expensive science books.
“Fourteen years ago, if you would have told me that I would be here today, about to graduate from Howard Community College with an associate’s degree in environmental science, I would have dismissed it as folly,” said Graham, reflecting on his education prior to his Howard Community College graduation. “But through dedication, commitment, and the Pathway Scholarship, and the incredible support from professors and staff, I have nearly achieved part one of my educational journey.”
Graham graduated from Howard Community College with an associate degree in December 2014. As for part two of his educational journey, Graham is now at Towson University working toward a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies policy management.