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08/09/2010

Non-Traditional Student Awarded AARP Foundation Women's Scholarship

Quick Facts

 Adams, an Air Force veteran and a single mother, is one of 125 women given scholarships from the foundation out of more than 3,600 applicants nationwide.
 After her May 2011 graduation, she hopes to study social work policy in graduate school with an emphasis in bridging the gap between social work and law enforcement.

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Wendy Adams
ROCK HILL, S.C. - The AARP Foundation recently awarded Wendy Adams, a senior social work major at Winthrop University hoping to specialize in suicide victims’ advocacy, a $5,000 scholarship to help cover her tuition, books and fees.

Adams, an Air Force veteran, former police officer and a single mother, is one of 125 women given scholarships from the foundation out of more than 3,600 applicants nationwide.

She started taking classes at Winthrop at age 36 and loved the college environment. The non-traditional student learned how to channel anger and frustration from her own childhood as a foster child into learning about policy and advocacy.

After her May 2011 graduation, she hopes to study social work policy in graduate school with an emphasis in bridging the gap between social work and law enforcement. She studied suicide this year as one of the university’s first 25 participants in the prestigious federal Ronald McNair Post-Baccalaureate Degree Program, a new Winthrop program that provides scholarship funds and program funds to encourage and support students who are first-generation, disadvantaged or under-represented in their pursuit of graduate education.

Adams’ father committed suicide 10 years ago. She openly talks about it, saying that “if we continue to treat suicide as a taboo, more people are going to suffer and die. Suicide happens behind closed doors, in silence and alone.

“We have to talk about it, we have to acknowledge these are people who need help,” she added. “My father's death has fueled my passion and desire to help those left behind, and those behind closed doors contemplating. His death has affected me; I am not ashamed of it, nor responsible.”

Adams also works as the student assistant for the John C. West Forum on Politics and Policy to help coordinate its programs.

The AARP Foundation’s Women’s Scholarship Program provides scholarship funds to women 40+ seeking new job skills, training, and educational opportunities to support themselves and their families. The AARP Foundation Women’s Scholarship Program is available to eligible individuals with moderate to lower incomes and limited financial resources.

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