Since 1962, we’ve been investing in America’s future by investing in its next generation of leaders. In that time nearly 40,000 of our Marine Scholars have gone on to put Honor, Courage, and Commitment to work in their communities. Meet a few of our scholarship recipients and you’ll see the impact of our program doesn’t stop at a tuition check.
Marines have been called a lot of things – Devil Dog, Leatherneck, first to fight –
just like them, our scholarship recipients are making a name for themselves…
we simply call them inspiring.
Alexis is the daughter of Staff Sergeant Anthony Session USMC (Ret.); she graduated from high school in 2008, but a series of losses and personal tragedies prolonged her pursuit of higher education. Today Alexis is a wife and young mother to her four year old son and is working incredibly hard to reach her goal of becoming a doctor, soon she will complete her degree in microbiology at San Diego State University. She recently transferred to UCSD from a community college and is thrilled that her dream of a true college experience is becoming a reality.
Alexis recently told us that she never would have gotten this far in her journey without persistence. She writes, “I am so very thankful to programs such as the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation for making my college experience less stressful. Attending a four year university has been one of the most empowering moments of my life. I am able to reap the benefits of hard work and also watch my success first hand. Now more than ever I feel empowered to encourage other young mothers and wives who have not finished their education to do so. It is never too late to complete your education and achieve your educational goals.”
Dustin says his father, First Lieutenant Brandon Dronet, was a true Marine who loved his job. 1stLt Dronet was a helicopter pilot who died in a crash off the coast of Djibouti, Africa. Dustin doesn’t sugar coat the trauma of losing a parent – it’s something that still affects him today.
In the years after his father passed away Dustin and his family struggled to cope with the change that followed. Dustin found a passion for wrestling and playing music which served as outlets for him to express himself. In the years that followed Dustin’s family thrived and learned how to cope thanks in large part to organizations that came together to support his family, like MCSF.
Now Dustin is committed to helping others in the future. He attends the University of Louisiana at Lafayette where he is studying psychology. He is heavily involved in two different research labs and is working hard to enroll in a master’s program after graduation.
Justin Nutt’s childhood changed drastically the year he entered the 7th grade. His father, First Sergeant Christopher Nutt USMC (Ret.), was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and passed away just six months later. Justin, the oldest of three, became his mother’s biggest supporter. He handled most of the responsibilities around the house and learned how to cook to feed his brothers – he knew that’s what his father would have expected of him. Today, Justin is a physical therapy student at Grand Valley State University.
Justin recently told us “I pursue a higher education in order to make the man who gave me the opportunity to receive this scholarship proud, my dad…Throughout the 12 years that I had the privilege to know him, I learned what he wanted for me in my life. I am not sure if he wanted me to go into the Marine Corps, but I do know that he wanted me to make the most out of my life. To be able to represent and bear the last name of this great man, a Marine for roughly 23 years, is an honor. Not only do I want to make my dad proud, but I also pursue a higher education for the biggest supporter in my life, my mom. She has done so much for me and my siblings to make us who we are today. She was able to stay strong and take care of three boys by herself when my dad passed away. I want to be able to return this favor when she is older and take care of her when she can no longer take care of herself.”
Heather was born on Camp Lejeune, and spent the rest of her life on military bases. Her father, Sergeant Major Richard Forrest, joined the Marine Corps at 17 and worked his way up the ranks all the way to Sergeant Major of Quantico over the course of his nearly 40-year career. Heather’s mother has been a teacher for over 30 years.
Heather is a student at Virginia Tech where she is working towards a dual degree in marketing and theater arts with minors in management and leadership. She is a member of the dance team, a member of the Pamplin Leadership Development Team which works to bring businesses and recruiters to Virginia Tech’s annual conference, and deeply involved in the Student Government Association – where she writes and votes on legislation. She was also selected to be a resident advisor this year.
Heather says “Balancing these activities with an 18 credit-hour course load can be challenging at times, but I have never been one to back down from a challenge. I love what I do and work hard to make it all happen. I figure, I’ll only get these chances once, so I plan to take advantage of these incredible opportunities while I can.” Her dream is to graduate from Virginia Tech with a high academic standing and put her skills and talent to work at a job that makes her happy and has a positive impact on those around her.
James, the son of active duty Master Sergeant Todd McMahon, graduated from George Mason University in 2017, where he maintained a 3.93 GPA, with a degree in criminal justice focused on homeland security and analytics. Over the years James attended many Scholarship Foundation events and says we enabled him “to discover that my career reach goals are definitely attainable.”
Currently James has been accepted into a training program to become a Foreign Service Officer for the US Department of State. He hopes to focus his career in South and Central Asia affairs -particularly Afghanistan. He is also in the midst of preparing for the Metropolitan Police Department Academy here in the District. He plans to become a Reserve Law Enforcement Officer while he trains and waits to receive DoS duties overseas.
Brighid Lee-Egan is a trained pastry chef and Scholarship Foundation alumna. Brighid is the daughter of Captain James Egan, who was a combat helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War and later worked as an EMS pilot after his discharge from the Marines. Shortly before Brighid’s first birthday he was killed when his helicopter went down during a transport mission. Brighid grew up with memories of her father provided through stories and photos of a life spent in service to his country.
When it came time to pursue her own career, like her father, Brighid sought out a challenge. She applied to a rigorous program at the Culinary Institute of America – “the Marine Corps of culinary schools” as she calls it! Thanks to her dynamic and skill-focused education, Brighid hit the ground running after her graduation in 2013. She’s working her way up the competitive culinary industry with her sights set on owning her own business someday.
Alissa’s father, HM2 Allan Espiritu, passed away in 2005 after his vehicle struck a roadside bomb while he was serving in Iraq. His death has affected her life more than she realized when she was younger.
Alissa says “college would not be possible without my dad. He has always pushed for me to be a great student and a great person. Whatever I struggled with in school was no match for my dad. Whether it was math homework or bullies, my dad was always there. Even though he worked, he always made the time to be a great father and supporter.
“To this day, the pain that I harbor from my dad’s passing still remains, but I know that he is still taking care of us. It is because of him that I have had so many opportunities… He is my motivation every single day not only to try hard in school but to be a good person whose choices bring about good consequences because I know that’s all he wanted of me. He would want me to excel not only for him, but for my family and most importantly myself. … He always wanted me to do my best in everything that I do and that is what pushes me even more to achieve my collegiate dreams.”
Alissa attends the University of California – Riverside where she is pursuing a degree in political science. She wants to go to law school and study environmental law. She cares about the environment in which we live and wants to help save it. She is involved in Red Cross Club, in a hip hop dance team called Collective Faction, and wants to study abroad this summer. Her long-term goals are to have a job that gives back and is also self-fulfilling.
Daniel is senior at Gardner-Webb University, majoring in Business Administration and minoring in Computer Science. His long-term goal is to become the CEO of the Charlotte Area Transit System.
Growing up in an urban environment, and without the means to afford a car, public transit was a major part of Daniel’s life when it came to going to school and getting around town. What made him interested in mass transit, aside from utilizing public transit for most of his life, was learning that more and more millennials are forgoing the costs of car ownership and are opting to utilize public transit, ride sharing services, and other forms of transportation.
He is passionate about improving public transportation through the advancement of technology.
Daniel’s father served honorably for 21 years and has continued to encourage Daniel to pursue higher education for the betterment of his future. Daniel also participates in his school’s marching band and is an avid member of math club. What he has enjoyed most about college “is that it presents you with real-world scenarios and situations to prepare you, both physically and mentally, for life after college.”