North Central College
Arianna Jones is a student-athlete at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, where she majors in health science. She is also a long-jumper, triple-jumper and sprinter for the women’s track and field team. From the south side of Chicago, Jones, a sophomore, chose North Central because it was close to home, and she could participate as a track athlete. Plus, North Central College helped make her education affordable with grants, scholarships and loans, she says.
Originally, Jones was a biology major, but turned her attention to a health science major. “I felt that it was more in my realm of experience and my realm of understanding of things I wanted to accomplish,” she says. She’s focused on becoming a child-life specialist, similar to a pediatric diagnosis counselor. The important part is being able to help children in medical settings, Jones says.
“I feel kids need someone to understand them. I’ve been working with kids for almost 10 years as a volunteer teachers’ assistant at my church. I work very well with children,” Jones says. In medical settings, children need someone to listen and explain things, and parents need to understand medical treatments, Jones says.
Jones funds her North Central education with an ACI General Scholarship and other sources of grants and scholarships. The ACI scholarship helped her avoid additional loan debt, she says. “It didn’t make sense to take out more loans because over the long run it would hurt me more. Receiving the scholarship put me back on track to be able to afford college,” Jones says. “I actually cried when I got the scholarship because I was overwhelmed and enthused that someone took the time to care about my future as much as I cared about my future. I’m so grateful that I even was selected.”
In addition to her track and field experience, Jones participates in the college’s Black Student Association, where she is secretary, and North Central’s OUTreach, which promotes understanding about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues.
When Lauren Whitfield was searching for a college to attend, her friends encouraged her check Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. Whitfield was interested in attending a Christian college. Her campus visits were positive, convincing her that the college was a good fit. Plus, Wheaton College had an excellent history program, her major, and she liked the idea of attending a college focused on the liberal arts. “I like the idea of a liberal arts education,” she says. “I like the idea of learning these different elements, so they could come together and form more a whole person.”
Whitfield, from Tinley Park, Illinois is now a senior, and she’s considering using her history major and English minor for specific careers. “I have been thinking primarily about either museum-related work, either as a curator or archivist, or possibly working in the world of books or publishing,” Whitfield says.
Whitfield is the recipient of an ACI General Scholarship, which she says helps relieve the stress of financing her college education. The ACI scholarship and other grants and scholarships are “a blessing,” she says. “I can focus on my schoolwork and doing well while I’m here because of the blessing of the scholarship. It really has allowed me to focus and eases my mind. I thank God for it,” Whitfield says.
Whitfield is appreciative of the generosity of donors who have made scholarship funds available to students such as her. “It is really helping the next generation be able to get through college and be able to go out and change the world,” she says. “It shows much love for others.”
At Wheaton College, Whitfield is a student leader through the Office of Multicultural Development, and she participates in the William Osborne Society, the Black Student Union on campus. She also interested in a newly formed film society at Wheaton.
As she prepares to graduate, Whitfield is grateful for her time at Wheaton College. “I’ve enjoyed my major, I’ve enjoyed the friends and the relationships I’ve built here, and the way I’ve grown and the way I continue to grow here. To be able to stay here all four years — it has been amazing and a God-send,” she adds.