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Student earns coveted Women Angels scholarship


December 10, 2009

She returned to school after an absence of more than a decade while raising four children as a single parent. For her dedication to her family, her studies and the community, Arizona State University student Emis Cox has been selected to receive the Arizona Foundation for Women Angels Scholarship. Cox received the $3,000 award at the annual Sandra Day O’Connor Awards Luncheon in Phoenix, Ariz.

“I realized that higher education would be my pathway to improved employment opportunities, even though it seemed impossible because of the immense responsibility I faced as a divorced mother with no family around to help,” said Cox, who also has overcome the fact that English is not her native language.

Cox is enrolled in the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at ASU’s West campus. On track to graduate in May 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in communication studies and a minor in Spanish, Cox has her sights set on obtaining an ASU master’s degree in nonprofit studies and pursuing a career in nonprofit management.

While balancing school, work and motherhood, Cox also has volunteered her time with community organizations including Fresh Start Women’s Foundation and Goodwill of Central Arizona.

“Emis is a great example of a student who connects classroom learning to important community issues,” said Vince Waldron, a New College professor of communication studies. “She draws on her own experiences as a nontraditional student as she provides support for other adult learners and lobbies persuasively for their interests. She is tireless and committed.”

As a Glendale Community College student, Cox served as a mentor to new students, ensuring they made use of available campus resources. More recently, she was selected to join the New College Ambassadors, a group of student volunteers on ASU’s West campus who assist with student recruitment activities.

“One of Emis’ qualities that stood out to the Ambassadors selection committee was her outstanding commitment to community service,” said Jenna Graham, student support coordinator in New College. “Emis is involved in a wide range of meaningful activities at ASU and in the surrounding community.”

“My professional goal is to empower others,” Cox said. “Taking advantage of available resources and support is a key to success. I have made use of college and community resources, and I’m always willing to share what I’ve learned with others at school, work and in the community.”

She cites the TriO office on the West campus, which provides tutoring and other programs for students meeting federal eligibility guidelines, as one of her sources of support.

Serving as a role model to her children also motivates Cox. “While striving to do my best at my class assignments, I don’t forget to find the time to help my children with their homework,” she said.

At the Sandra Day O’Connor Awards Luncheon, Cox was congratulated by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, the event’s honoree. Cox had the opportunity to meet Albright at a private reception prior to the luncheon.

“The Arizona Foundation for Women and the AFW Angels are proud to be able to support the educational pursuits of incredible women like Emis,” said Nancy A. Dean, AFW’s president and CEO.

Cox was the only scholarship recipient selected this year to win AFW’s Angels Scholarship. This scholarship, dedicated to helping an individual who is attending a college or university, was created by the Angels of AFW, an auxiliary group of women who support and raise funds for the organization.

The Arizona Foundation for Women works in partnership with the community to create a safe and secure state for women and children. The foundation uses a unique approach to catalyzing change for women through research, advocacy, grant-making and education. Working with hundreds of nonprofit service providers, the foundation has provided more than $2 million to the community and benefited more than one million individuals statewide.