Including this year's Pershing Square Foundation/ThanksUSA scholarship, Gabrielle has received consecutive ThanksUSA scholarships totaling $6,000. Gabrielle was encouraged to apply for a ThanksUSA scholarship by her mother, Cindy, who received a ThanksUSA scholarship in 2008.
Currently in her junior year, Gabrielle majors in Elementary Education. She plans to become an elementary school teacher after completing a graduate program at UF. "This fall semester was my first in the Professional Teaching (ProTeach) program at UF and it was nothing short of amazing. I have learned and been encouraged more than I could have imagined in one semester."
Though teaching seems to be a natural fit for Gabrielle, she admits that until she was actually accepted to college, she hadn't decided on a major. She reflected on her talents and strengths and realized how much she enjoyed working with children.
"All through high school I worked at the YMCA and coached gymnastics to children. My coaching experience combined with the experience of working alongside my mother in her first grade classroom allowed me to realize that I have a passion for teaching children."
Gabrielle will have the opportunity to teach this May when she travels to Rome with the UF Teach the World program. "I will be interning and teaching in an Italian Academy. I am very excited!"
Clearly a successful and well-rounded student, Gabrielle notes that being a military dependent has influenced her life considerably. "My father's military career has given me the opportunity to travel the world and become a well-rounded, independent individual. I believe the traits engrained in me as a dependent allowed me to thrive in college and in my professional program. I have a love and respect for our country and military that cannot be weakened. I plan to pass on this love and respect to my own children in the future as well as the many children I will have the opportunity to teach throughout my career."
The ThanksUSA team is always impressed with scholars like Gabrielle and we are so happy to witness the collegiate journeys of both her and her mother. ThanksUSA wants your family to be a part of our family. All college-bound military spouses and dependent children are encouraged to apply for the 2014-2015 ThanksUSA scholarship program beginning April 1st. We know that Gabrielle will be applying again and so will her brother, Nico.
"I would like to express my sincere thanks to the donors for their generosity in the ThanksUSA Scholarship program. This program has aided me financially and allowed me to pursue my dream of becoming a teacher."
-- Gabrielle Vega