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Scholarships in Action

Kara Brown Gillit

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Miss Rodeo America 2002


"One of the biggest blessings of winning MRA 2002 was receiving a $10,000 scholarship to further my education. After completing my year as MRA, I applied to and was accepted into the Masters of Physical Therapy program at Texas Tech Health Sciences Center in Lubbock, TX. When I was competing in high school rodeo I became inspired by the Justin Sportsmedicine Team and decided I wanted a career as a physical therapist. I am so blessed by the MRA scholarship foundation for providing a way for me to achieve the career of my dreams and graduate with my Master’s degree completely debt free. I also used the scholarship to purchase a laptop that I needed to complete my college education. I graduated in May of 2007 and immediately was able to fulfill my dream of becoming a physical therapist by working in inpatient rehab at Covenant Medical Center. After two years I transitioned to Accolade Home Health Care. Thanks to my experience as MRA, I was completely at home when Accolade asked me to help shoot a tv commercial and print ads for the company. I am lucky to wake up every morning to a job that I look forward to doing something that I think really makes a difference in the lives of my patients."

Kimberly (Kuhn) Romsa

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Miss Rodeo Wyoming 2012
Miss Rodeo America Top 5

"The Miss Rodeo America Scholarship was a wonderful way for me to further my education and career in a way I that never imagined possible. Going into Miss Rodeo America I had a Bachelor’s Degree in Agriculture Business with a minor in Finance. I did not have student loans from the University of Wyoming so I was unsure what I could use my scholarship for.
I decided to fulfill a passion I had always been interested in, even more so as I traveled as a state queen! I utilized my scholarship to become a Cosmetologist. After Cosmetology school I started work at the Ivinson Memorial Hospital Foundation as a Major Gifts Officer while working part time in a salon. The Major Gifts Officer position also utilized my rodeo queen “skills” to raise money for our hospital. I was then presented the opportunity to work at the Laramie Medical Spa under a general surgeon who also helped further my education in Medical Esthetics. It was an opportunity beyond what I ever imagined. Currently, I happily work at the Ivinson Memorial Hospital, the Laramie Medical Spa and I am in training for the Look Good Feel Better program for our Cancer Center to help work with our cancer patients who have undergone treatment. I feel blessed by the opportunities in my life that have presented themselves due to the service and support of the Miss Rodeo America Scholarship program. It was a wonderful chapter in my life that has allowed me to work in gratitude to serve others on a daily basis. After following me through this entire journey of a 10 year stretch, I married the love of my life, Quade. He is truly a dream and we enjoy keeping the west alive through coordinating and driving the wagons at Cheyenne Frontier Days.
Thank you to the Miss Rodeo America Scholarship Program! "

Selena Ulch Pope

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Miss Rodeo America 2005.

"THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU Miss Rodeo America Scholarship Foundation! I am forever thankful for the blessing of being able to finish my education free of debt! YOU gave me the gift of being able to follow my dreams!

Here is my story:
When I won the title of Miss Rodeo America, I had earned 3 Associate's Degrees from Truckee Meadows Community College. I had a jump on my undergraduate work from the University of Nevada, Reno. I married my husband shortly after my reign and we moved to Cokeville, Wyoming where we raise Black Angus cattle..... but this is a very, very rural place! (Population 500) I continued my education online through Western Governors University. I obtained a degree in Elementary Education and enjoyed several years of teaching in 2nd, 3rd and 4th grades in my community. With the remaining scholarship money I had, I was able to pursue 2 masters degrees, one in Chemistry and one in Biology. These degrees qualified me to teach high school science. I loved my position at Cokeville High School teaching science, but resigned last year to focus on raising my 3 rowdy boys and start other business ventures. I look forward to returning to the classroom in the future!

Once again, thank you for this incredible gift! It was the stepping stone to the rest of my life! My family was given a great blessing and a boost by allowing me to have a great career in our beginning years of marriage. 11 years later, I'm filled with overwhelming gratitude for my education!"

Mackenzie Carr Ivie

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Miss Rodeo America 2012
Upon winning the title of Miss Rodeo America 2012 and the category awards of Horsemanship, Appearance, Personality, Speech, Scrapbook, and the Raeana Wadhams Spirit Award, I received $27,000 in scholarship funds. After completing my reign, I returned to Oregon State University to finish my Bachelor’s degree. I graduated in 2014 with a B.S. in Speech Communication, specializing in Rhetoric. I used my MRA scholarship to pay off all of my student loans and was able to graduate debt free!
After graduation, I moved to Wyoming with my husband and settled in the town of Moorcroft. I began working for the Girl Scouts of Montana and Wyoming as the Volunteer Outreach and Support Manager for Northeast Wyoming and Southeast Montana. After 2 ½ years with the company, I decided to take a different career path and return to school. I am currently pursuing my Master’s degree in Secondary Education at Black Hills State University and will be certified to teach English Language Arts. I am beyond thankful for the opportunities that the Miss Rodeo America Scholarship Foundation gave me. I would not be where I am today without the immense generosity of the organization and cannot thank them enough. Simply put, my MRA scholarship changed my life!

Shelby Chapman

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Miss Rodeo Iowa 2016
"My year as Miss Rodeo Iowa was a once in a life time opportunity in which I traveled the nation, attended rodeos, shared my story of agriculture and promoted the western industry. I am beyond excited to have earned 3rd runner up at the 2017 Miss Rodeo America Pageant, as I made history being one of few from Iowa to earn a top five placing. With earning 3rd Runner Up, I also received a total of $7000 in scholarships, with $1000 generously donated by the Dea Family (given to a science major)

I graduated from Iowa State University in December of 2013 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science. Having financially supported myself throughout college, I was beyond excited to apply the Miss Rodeo America scholarships to my existing student loans. Upon completion of college graduation, I utilized my education by working fulltime for TriOak Foods as a Swine Fieldstaff Member. I truly enjoy working one on one with farmers, assisting with daily pig care, implementing new technologies, making pig health recommendations and essentially feeding the world. I look forward to continuing to promote the western industry throughout my career with TriOak Foods, along with representing the Miss Rodeo Iowa Organization as board member and being involved in my rural community’s agricultural programs.

I am grateful for each and every Miss Rodeo America Scholarship Foundation donor as the generous donations assist young ladies like myself to advance their education and career opportunities!"

Alyssa Morrison Jones

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The Miss Rodeo America Scholarship Foundation congratulates Alyssa Morrison Jones, who becomes DR. ALYSSA JONES today as she graduates from University of Kansas Medical Center.

Alyssa has earned the degree of Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice. Alyssa Morrison Jones was Miss Rodeo Kansas 2011 and third runner-up to Miss Rodeo America. She received $3,000 from the MRA Scholarship Foundation which helped fund the first two semesters of graduate school program in nurse anesthesia.

Upon completion of the national board exam, she will begin working as a pediatric Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City.

Alyssa was featured here on our page a few months ago and said "I cannot thank you and the entire foundation enough for all the work you do in supporting the education of young women. I am so grateful!"

The Foundation is so proud of Alyssa and her accomplishments and we are thankful we could play a role in achieving her goals! Congratulations Alyssa!!!
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