Michelle Walker is one of 10 community college recipients of a Coca-Cola/Tom Brokaw Military Veterans scholarship, awarded to a returning military veteran or active-duty service member.
Walker, the lone winner from a Virginia community college, will receive $5,000 toward her tuition – a huge help to the business major who has been unemployed for the last two years.
“I’m really grateful to Professor Angela Slaughter,” Walker said. Walker was a student in Slaughter’s Principles of Management class last summer where she learned about the scholarship. Slaughter wrote a recommendation on Walker’s behalf.
An Army veteran, Walker earned her bachelor’s in communication studies in 2001 from University of Maryland University College. Initially, she wanted to be a broadcaster, but instead she found opportunity in law enforcement and security until a mass layoff by the Coast Guard changed her life.
“I’ve been working since I was 16,” Walker said. “I never imagined I’d be unemployed. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster.”
Walker attends Tidewater Community College thanks to the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP), which offers up to 12 months of retraining assistance to veterans who meet certain criteria.
“I’m working to make myself more marketable,” said Walker, immersed in online business classes in statistics, accounting and management. “It’s all about maximizing what I have.”
Walker would like to work toward a master of education and hopes to work in higher education.