First in Family Scholarship Award Winners

As lifelong residents of Connecticut, attorneys Peter Billings, Sean Barrett, and Peter Bowman take pride in helping the local community, especially with regards to education. It is with this purpose that Billings, Barrett and Bowman put together the First in Family Scholarship aimed at helping those tasked with becoming the first in their family to attend an institute of higher education. The following is a list of our annual winners. For more information on the First in Family Scholarship and how you can apply, visit our scholarship information page here.

2019 Winner: Michelle Sanchez

Billings, Barrett, and Bowman LLC is pleased to announce that Michelle Sanchez is the winner of the 2019 First in Family Scholarship! Michelle graduated from high school a year early and spent that extra year helping take care of her family and deciding what direction she wanted to take her life. She is a native of New Britain, Connecticut and currently attending the University of Phoenix to get a degree in Accounting.

She works a full time job to help support her family and pay her way through college. Michelle has encountered much adversity within her family and with her own struggles with mental illness. However, she is focused and determined to graduate with her Accounting degree. Upon hearing that she had won the 2019 First in Family scholarship, Michelle was excited and thankful. She said: “I am so thrilled that I won this scholarship. Anything helps in my endeavor and winning this just gave me so much more hope for the future, and gratitude for the help.”

2018 Winner: Merari Morales

Driven by the pursuit of a better life, Merari migrated to the United States from Mexico at the age of 18. With hard work, Merari was able to be the first one in his family to obtain a GED, enroll in atwo-year college and became a Paramedic in 2014. Last September, he was accepted into the Augsburg University Physician Assistant Program and will begin full-time classes in May 2019.

“Thank you so much for choosing me as this year’s winner of Billings, Barrett & Bowman First in Family Scholarship! An African proverb says, “It takes a village to raise a child.” This couldn’t be any more true in my situation. It will be the generosity and support of my community and the contribution of the Billings, Barrett & Bowman First in Family Scholarship that will make it possible for me to pursue a career as a Physician Assistant.

By becoming a PA, my goal is to become the familiar face, the hands, and the voice that alleviates the suffering of those who, for one reason or another, still don’t have access to a medical provider and be the bridge between vulnerable populations and the healthcare system.”

2017 Winner: Amina Shiwoko

Amina Shiwoko First in Family Scholarship Award WinnerThe first winner of the First in Family Scholarship is Amina Shiwoko, a Kenya native who migrated to the United States with her family when she was 5 years old. Amina became a U.S. citizen at age 11 and eventually graduated from Desert View High School in Arizona as a member of the class of 2017.

Next year Amina plans to study nursing at the University of Arizona, which offers one of the best nursing programs in the country. The following is Amina’s reaction to being named the winner:

“I am honored to be one of the recipients of the Billings and Barrett First In Family Scholarship! Thanks to your generous support I will be the first in my family to attend college. Growing up in a less privileged community has not only offered financial and academic challenges, but has also helped me realize the value of a college education.

My educational pursuits would not be possible without generous support from scholarship sponsors like your organization. Thank you for enabling this opportunity!

By awarding me the Billings and Barrett First In Family Scholarship, you have eased my financial burden which allows me to focus. Your generosity has inspired me to help others and give back to my community. I promise I will work very hard, and I plan to one day be able to help students achieve their goals just as you helped me.”

Billings and Barrett wishes Amina and the rest of our applicants the best of luck in their educational pursuits. Check back for information regarding next year’s scholarship coming soon.