Former Cottonmouth, Army Reservist among Aranas Scholars

Four Columbus Technical College radiologic technology students can now identify themselves as Aranas scholars. Along with that honor comes an extra 550 dollars in their pockets. Second-year students Jessica Burke and Barry Grissett, Jr. and first-year students Ian Vigier and Brenda Piotrowski all earned the Aranas scholarship for 2013. In order to be considered for this award, the students must show they are in solid academic standing and also submit an application packet that includes an essay explaining why the scholarship is important to them.

Aranas Scholars 2013

Columbus Technical College Aranas Scholarship winners for 2013 are (left to right) Barry Grissett, Jr., Jessica Burke, Brenda Piotrowski, and Ian Vigier.

In his application essay, retired Columbus Cottonmouth (2007-2013) goaltender Ian Vigier wrote about aspiring to be successful and self-sufficient while being able to give back to the community.

“There is tremendous benefit to being well rounded, and although the courses may become challenging, they will contribute to my ultimate goal of living a rewarding life while working a fulfilling career,” Vigier said. “The college path I have chosen will not only provide me with the hands-on training, but will also teach me about real-life skills and communication.”

Brenda Piotrowski is a married Army Reservist whose active duty husband is about to be deployed to Fort Rucker, Alabama. Like so many military couples, married life often means months apart. Brenda will stay behind and finish her radiologic technology degree while her husband completes training and will be assigned to yet another location. Besides the emotional stress, there is also a significant financial burden. Brenda Piotrowski receives a small check for her monthly weekend in the Reserves and uses the GI Bill; but an extra 550 dollars will come in handy.

“I will stay behind with the house and mortgage, and he will rent a small apartment or room,” Piotrowski wrote. “Our household will be split apart and the financial stress doubled.”

Barry Grissett, Jr. is both a second-year student, who has held onto a 3.5-plus GPA, and a newlywed who understands all too well about the stress financial limitations can bring. In order to excel as a full time student in his radiologic technology program, he recently had to change to part time status as his job.

“Though my pay was dramatically reduced, as the sole provider of my household, I still had to figure out a way to pay personal, living, and educational expenses that all came at full time costs,” Grissett wrote in his essay. “Having to balance these expenses was demanding, especially without financial aid or assistance but with the Aranas Scholarship funds I was able to gain back a sense of financial security.”

Ever since she was a little girl, Jessica Burke knew she wanted to work in the medical field. After accruing a large student loan debt at a major university in Ohio, Jessica figured she’d take some time off to regroup. During that time, she worked full time in the medical field at various labs, medical offices, and even nursing homes. Now, she and her husband are both college students who can really use the extra money.

“My husband is working hard to pay for both his graduate and my undergraduate degree so we do not have to take out any more student loans,” Burke wrote. “Together we are paying for three college tuitions.”

About the Aranas Scholarship: The Aranas Scholarship is named after Columbus radiologist, Dr. Fred Aranas. Dr. Aranas died in a car accident in the late 1980′s but the scholarship ensures his memory has lived on ever since. The Aranas Scholarship is distributed to two first-year and two second-year students in the radiologic technology program at Columbus Technical College. The $1650 is maintained by the Columbus Regional Foundation and managed through the Columbus Technical College Foundation.