Lisa Marie Gulbenkian-Fertman is truly honored to be the recipient of the Alice DeBoer Named Scholarship for 2016. She is a 47-year old, non-traditional student and this scholarship plays an important role in funding her educational goals. Lisa Marie was a homeless student living in a shelter when she started college in 2013. Metaphorically speaking there was only one way to enter and exit, which meant that she was confined with no escape route, no “plan B,” in the event that circumstances required her to have an alternative strategy other than evacuating the area a different way than she came in. The idea that she could transform her life into something more seemed unfeasible because her environment was so restrictive. Scholarships such as this one made the concept of having both a front and back door a reality for Lisa Marie. Her possibilities opened up. She had the option of an education, a new avenue, as a way to create a deeply meaningful and purposeful life.
Since that time, Lisa Marie’s academic achievements include maintaining a 4.0 GPA and the completion of the Community College of Denver’s (CCD) Honors program – five honors classes (philosophy, English, and three honors credits in human services). She’s made the President’s List several semesters and is a recipient of CCD’s GRIT aka“Against All Odds” Award.
She is an active member of three honor societies at the Auraria Campus, as well as a participant in four other programs at CCD focusing on community outreach programs to help the needy. She is a guest speaker at many events throughout Colorado educating professionals about the benefits of sponsoring women and non-traditional students through providing mentorship and scholarship opportunities for them. Lisa Marieworks as a Human Services Peer Mentor in the Office of Student Life on CCD’s campus, which she exclaims “has been a dream come true because it is the perfect segue into my career upon graduation!”
Lisa Maries future career in the human services profession will enable her to open a low and no-cost mental health facility in one of the most poverty stricken areas in Denver. Her dream is to empower families, addicts, and the mentally disabled to transition from dysfunctional homes into safe, healthy, happy, and self-sustaining households. Lisa shares, “I want to give patients a reason to JUMP out of bed in the morning!”
Lisa Marie spends much of her free time volunteering in an effort to pay it forward in return for what educational scholarships and a college education have provided her. She is so appreciative of Alice DeBoer, who was a trailblazer in supporting women’s endeavors, believing in them when nobody should and trusting in them when no one else would. Lisa Marie says, “I am so thankful to belong to a fellowship founded on Alice DeBoer’s values and all the amazing women who have been inspired by her and are following in her footsteps. It means the world to me to know I am supported and valued in my academic endeavors. Her inspiration can turn women into Superheroes!”