No one understands the importance of a scholarship better than Hiep “Patrick” Ma. In 2012, Patrick received a Max and Nadine Dimick Scholarship, established by the late Dr. and Mrs. Dimick to assist students at local community colleges.
Patrick’s journey toward achieving his dreams has already been a long one. He spent his early years in Viet Nam in a fractured and abusive family. Briefly reunited with his mother when he was 15, he was finally able to join her in the U.S. two years later, but the happy reunion and stable home Patrick had envisioned did not come to pass. He eventually found himself homeless at 18. Despite the upheaval of his young life, he continued his education. “Even in my most desperate moments, I could always find comfort in going to school. It was my safety net.”
In his junior year in high school, Patrick had the great fortune of enrolling in an ESL class, where the teacher became his mentor, friend, and surrogate family. After one year of English language support, Patrick completed his senior year in all college prep courses, maintaining a 4.0 GPA. At American River College, Patrick continued to excel academically, earning membership in the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society – all while working as a Youth Advocate for Mental Health America of Northern California and serving on numerous volunteer committees.
Patrick will transfer to UC Davis in fall 2013 to complete his undergraduate study toward the dream of earning a master’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies. “I want to be able to help others in pain,” he explains. Like Patrick, many deserving students can only achieve their dreams with the help of scholarships. As he says, “Everyone deserves a chance to shine.”
“College is not something I consider optional in life – it’s a priority that I put above anything else so that I can achieve my dreams. It is vital for one to advocate for himself when it comes to the important things in life, especially education. I believe in asking for help when needed because a closed mouth is a mouth not fed.” – Patrick Ma, scholarship recipient
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