Paying it Forward - 2009 Profiles

Gwyn Gardner

Alumna - Atlanta, Georgia

Gwyn knew in junior high that she wanted to be a college student. She didn’t have the best grades or academic record, but her college prep classes sparked a desire in her to keep trying and keep believing. She wanted to be the first person in her family to graduate college, but when her parents told her they couldn’t finance her education, she had to go it alone. She joined the military and enrolled in University of Phoenix. During her time as a student she was encouraged to be a “life-long learner” and she’s doing just that. Gwyn completed her MBA and now her family hopes they’ll have a doctor in the family as well. She is an advocate for University of Phoenix and the chance it gave her to meet her dreams. Gwyn wants to pay forward her education to her niece Shontae.

Shontae Anderson

Recipient - Woodbridge, Virginia

Survival has always been a constant in Shontae’s life. She and her twin brother were born prematurely and had to survive against great odds. When her parents divorced she became a mother-figure to her brothers while her own mother worked multiple jobs to support their family.

When it came time for college, her family could only afford to send one twin to college so her brother left while Shontae stayed home to help the family and attend community college. Unfortunately financial burdens and family crises caused Shontae to drop out of school. Her twin was diagnosed with a mental illness and she had to fight for his health care until he was accepted into a group home. This fight inspired Shontae to continue her education in the human resources field. Her manager told her she had great promise to move up to management but such a move was impossible without an advanced degree. This scholarship will give her the resources to complete her degree and stand beside her aunt as a college graduate.

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