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2022 PbS Staff Scholarship Award Winners Aim High with Educational Goals

Congratulations to the recipients of the 2022 PbS Staff Scholarship Award. The PbS Scholarship Fund was established in 2016 to inspire, encourage and assist young people and staff pursuing post-secondary education.

This year, five staff members across the nation received a PbS scholarship to further their studies and continue their dedication and commitment to young people. We asked the award recipients to talk about the scholarship and how it will help them make an impact going forward.

Here’s what they said:

Jennifer Adams, a teacher at the L.B. Wallace School located at Mt. Meigs Campus, Alabama, is enrolled at Auburn University Montgomery in the Instructional Leadership Masters Program.

Quoting Nelson Mandela in her statement, “We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in our hands to make a difference,” Jennifer went on to explain how she’ll personally make a difference. “I would like to ‘pay it forward” by eventually opening a mental health clinic for kids and juveniles. I would like to provide services specific to this age group and specifically address their needs. I would also hold mental health seminars with my professional community to bring awareness to the need for more mental health services among the population of students that we serve and my colleagues.”

Heather Horton, an Assistant Probation Officer at the Sacramento County Youth Detention Facility, is pursuing a master's degree in Psychology with an emphasis on Human Behavior at National University. Heather talked about how she plans to use her advanced degree.

I am currently the officer that facilitates our Multi-Sensory De-Escalation Room, where I apply a trauma-informed approach and utilize an individual's five-senses to aid them in the de-escalation process. I will be able to implement my new and refined knowledge of psychology and human behavior into the programs that I provide to the residents within our facility."

Nicole Ostovich, a Correctional Program Specialist at Indian River Juvenile Correctional Facility, Ohio, is earning a master's degree in Social Work from the University of Akron. Nicole reflected on working with young people who have experienced trauma and how she hopes to make a difference in their lives.

This award will assist with the cost of my tuition for my master’s degree in Social Work. I hope that by completing higher level education that I am better able to help the Youth that ODYS serves. This educational program is teaching me specialized skills to better assist youth that have experienced violence and trauma, and these skills will encourage growth, rehabilitation, and change and will ultimately improve their lives and our entire community.”

Jathyia Pickett, a staff member at Bridge City Center for Youth, Louisiana, is pursuing a bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice at Southeastern Louisiana University. Jathyia explained how the degree will allow her to give back to the community.

This will help me further my career in the criminal justice system and become more of a valuable asset to the community; helping those who are in the criminal justice system grow into better citizens.”

Rebecca Raloff, a special education teacher at Grand Mesa Youth Services Center, is a graduate student in the Applied Behavior Analysis Program at the University of Northern Colorado. Rebecca spoke about her dedication to empowering young people in the juvenile justice system.

My intention is to empower at-risk youth and their families in my community to overcome life circumstances that may have inhibited their successes. The aim of Applied Behavior Analysis is to allow youths to embrace their challenging behaviors and offer interventions that can empower positive changes in themselves. This change can foster self confidence that leads to accomplishments they can be proud of. I personally believe every child deserves the opportunity to develop new skills, even if they are in the juvenile justice system.”

PbS extends our gratitude to these dedicated staff members. We wish them great success in their educational and professional pursuits.

Read more about:  Scholarships

About the author

Lisa Duffy

Lisa Duffy

Lisa Duffy is a program assistant for the PbS Learning Institute. She holds a B.A. in Women’s Studies and a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing from the University of Massachusetts Boston. She has extensive experience in writing, editing, and content creation for private, healthcare, and non-profit organizations. A published novelist with three book club favorites from Simon & Schuster, Lisa’s writing can be found in numerous literary journals, print, and online publications.

PbS has been a partner in assisting this facility to become a dynamic work environment that is not satisfied with maintaining the status quo.