Community First Credit Union Funded Scholarships Help FVTC Students Focus Passions, Career Pursuits

Back of graduation cap sitting on someone's head showing students pursuing their passion through scholarships

Choosing a career is one of the most important pursuits for young adults looking to discover their future in the working world.

And, Community First Credit Union is happy to help shape those decisions by sponsoring scholarship opportunities annually to help pay for educational endeavors.

In December, the Fox Valley Technical College Foundation awarded two $500 Community First-funded scholarships for the fall semester. Autumn Tuma of Little Chute and Sonia Ochowicz of Oshkosh were recipients of these scholarship, among 400 other scholarships awarded in the semester by the foundation.

Each fall and spring semester, Community First sponsors a $500 scholarship through FVTC. Since the spring 2023 recipient declined the $500 Community First scholarship due to unforeseen circumstances, a second fall 2023 scholarship was awarded.

The stories of Autumn and Sonia, both of whom will graduate in May, provide inspiration for all.

Autumn Tuma

The 22-year-old Little Chute woman had considered studying something related to medicine until her interest in business was sparked by “an amazing teacher” at LittAutumn Tuma received the $500 scholarship sponsored by Community First Credit Unionle Chute High School.

“Being thrown into college in the middle of a pandemic I believe also pushed me into discovering myself and my passions,” said Autumn, who also credits her part-time job for helping her switch her studies toward an associate degree in Business Management. “I have many role models in the business field that push me to be better, ultimately allowing myself to be excited for my future.”

Autumn said “my passion” for business was rooted in her work at an Appleton coffee shop, Copper Rock. “I have an enormous amount of respect and gratitude for the business owners,” she said. “They are amazing people both in and outside of the workplace. I admire their drive and sacrifice for the company. My business dream is to one day manage/own a coffee shop or wine bar.”

Her FVTC studies have fueled her drive as well. “I am excited to continue to learn from a group of remarkable professors and gain everything I need to be successful. By earning this business management degree, I will be one step closer to making my dream come true.”

Sonia Ochowicz

Originally on an education track pre-pandemic, the Oshkosh North graduate has focused instead on studying marketing and pursuing a Business Management degree as the best option for her future and career.

“MySonia Ochowicz received the $500 scholarship sponsored by Community First Credit Union journey within my education and work life has been very exciting as I've been faced with many amazing opportunities to grow,” said Sonia. “Within my family-owned business, The Turquoise Door, we have had to opportunity to expand into a larger location in downtown Oshkosh. I'm very excited to see where my education and experiences take me next.”

The Turquoise Door is a women’s consignment boutique (eclectic women’s clothing, shoes, bags and jewelry) and thrift store in the process of moving to the 400 block of Main Street with a growing offering of unique furnishings, local hand-made items and plants.

While attending Oshkosh North, Sonia helped organize a Prom Dress Closet store that provided over 100 prom dresses annually to students at no cost. That experience helped leverage her passion for fashion, art and creativity. The scholarship “will help me pay off and finish my last semester” as she continues “pursuing a career within management.”

Applications are being accepted now through Feb. 7.  for the spring FVTC scholarships that will be awarded in May. A total of 833 students applied during the fall scholarship period. Community First also plays a part in offering three $1,000 scholarships for graduating high school seniors through the Greater Fox Cities Chapter of Credit Unions. Scholarship applications are open through March 30.

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