Chloe Hanegraaf
Olivet Nazarene University
PACCAR Foundation Scholarship

When Chloe Hanegraaf went to college, she set her sights on earning an associate’s degree and a possible teaching career. But her life changed significantly after completing the degree at Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Heights, Illinois. Her Christian background and friends led her to think about attending Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Illinois, not far from her home. She applied, but declined to attend, only to reconsider a few months later when a university recruiter contacted her, asking if she wanted to remain under consideration for admission. This time, Hanegraaf said yes. She began a three-year journey, this time in a very different field – nursing.

Her paternal grandmother was a nurse, and Hanegraaf liked the idea of working with people to help them get better and improve their health. Plus, as a nurse, she would be helping to educate patients. But she knew getting there would be difficult. To enter the nursing program at Olivet Nazarene, Hanegraaf had to pass the entry level exam to get into the program. “I was required to take microbiology and chemistry. I had already taken my biology course. Those were hard classes. I definitely didn’t think I would pass any of them, but by the grace of God, I did,” she said. This semester, Hanegraaf is completing her capstone course at Riverside Medical Center in Kankakee, Illinois, where she has worked with Covid patients. She will graduate in December. After graduation, she is considering a career as a critical care nurse, and possibly, a travel nurse.

Hanegraaf was encouraged to apply for the PACCAR Foundation scholarship by Greg Bruner, Olivet Nazarene’s financial aid director. “Without scholarship funds and the financial assistance that I receive, I would not be able to attend Olivet,” she said. “Every single dollar counts for me. Whether it’s a $500 grant or maybe a thousand, $300 … It is honestly such a blessing to receive that. It has impacted my education. A donor’s contribution has a very big effect, even though it’s a small piece of the puzzle. I would hope to one day to be able to give back when I’m a nurse to people who are going to be studying nursing, “she added.

Hanegraaf is grateful for the scholarships ACI provides to college students like her. “I love what you guys are doing, she said. ” I think more students should know about it. There are so many opportunities to apply for scholarships and to work hard to earn your degree. It’s hard, but there are amazing ways to help you out financially.  I just want to say thank you for that. I’m very appreciative.”

Hanegraaf is the eldest of five children, with four younger brothers. At Olivet Nazarene, she is president of the student nursing association, where she organizes events including blood donation drives and volunteers her time in nursing simulations. She is also part of a Bible study group, which explores how faith plays a role in nursing. She previously worked at a coffee shop during her time in community college and while she was at Olivet Nazarene.

Keishon Tinon
Millikin University
ACI Peer Mentoring Program

Keishon Tinon has a plan: He wants to open a sports-and-recovery center for athletes. To get there, the Millikin University sophomore is majoring in Sports and Recreation Management, with a minor in Entrepreneurship – while serving as a mentor in ACI’s Peer Mentoring Program and playing as a defensive lineman on the university’s football team.

Tinon, Belleville, Illinois, says he did some research and chose Millikin for career reasons. “What really caught my eye is the job placement rate as soon as you graduate (of) 98 percent,” he says. “It’s also a smaller school, so I just figured you could get more help here, which is true. I feel like I can have a great career once I leave Millikin.”

So far at Millikin, Tinon has made many career-related connections, which led him to apply for positions involve student mentoring, similar to his experience first as an ACI mentee and now, a mentor. He is a residential and academic peer mentor in freshman dorms and a mentor for incoming freshmen in the university’s Edge program. “I want to provide resources I was provided when I got to Millikin,” he says.

After college, Tinon sees himself in many possible jobs: working game-day operations for sports franchises, coaching and the dream of a sports-and-recovery center. That is why he added the entrepreneurship minor, to learn more about running a business.

When he entered college, Tinon was selected to be an ACI mentee. It helped that he knew his Millikin mentor, who attended the same high school as Tinon. He admits he doesn’t like to ask for help but learned early in college that it was important to ask for help about academics and college life in general. “Once I got in the program, I got more comfortable. I was more able to ask for help,” Tinon says. He recalled weekly check-ins with his mentor, plus attending events together and meeting new people, including other mentees and mentors.

“I liked the program. I like what it did for me, and I want to do the same thing that my mentor did for me,” he says. “I like to help people, especially when I’ve got resources, and people to point them toward. That makes me feel good, just knowing I helped somebody.”

In addition to playing on the Millikin football team and work as a mentor to other students, Tinon works in the Center for Academic and Professional Performance at Millikin and is a part of the Black Student Union.

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