Betsy Ann Wilson is the executive director of 'NPC Friends and Family', Northland Pioneer College's nonprofit foundation. Their primary focus is to support the students of Northland Pioneer College through scholarships and to promote and support lifelong learning through advocacy, volunteerism and fundraising. The list of scholarships that are provided through 'NPC Friends and Family' has expanded in the past few semesters. According to Wilson "we're up to over 25 named and memorial scholarships from 'NPC Friends and Family' now. The Mary Kay Smith Lindy scholarship is named after a nurse who spent many years as a nurse and resided in the White Mountains for a time. She spent a large part of her career on the Navajo and Hopi reservations. When she passed away, her daughter reached out to us and asked if she could establish a scholarship in memory of her Mom. That was the family's gift to the memory of their Mother, to establish a legacy scholarship, an endowed scholarship. We offer it once a year to a nursing student who is Native American, because the Lindy family felt that's what their Mom would have really liked. Emmalisha Yazzie, a first-year nursing student from Winslow, is the recipient of this scholarship. We also have a brand new scholarship provided by the White Mountain Women's Club, that we awarded for the first time last semester, which is the Doris Power Scholarship, in memory of one of their former members. Then, one that I really love is called the Doris Reed Nursing Scholarship. This is in honor of a lady who also spent over 50 years as a nurse and she's still very much with us and lives in the White Mountain area. It was provided by her family to commemorate her career as a nurse and we award that twice a year. So most of our scholarships are need based. By that I mean, there's a merit aspect to it. GPA is somewhat important, but more important is that the student be able to describe exactly what they need the scholarship for and how it will benefit their educational program. The most exciting brand new scholarship we have is called the Andy Von academic scholarship for Native American students. This was provided by a couple from the north central portion of Arizona and they have chosen to remain anonymous, but they provided us this past year with a substantial bequest. This is an endowment to assist Native Americans in their academic goals. We're going to be providing $10,000 in scholarships and $10,000 in transportation grants to Native American students for the upcoming semester and every semester for the foreseeable future, thanks to this request. We're really excited about it."
An exciting opportunity that's going to be opening again in the spring for graduating high school seniors is called 'NPC on the House'. Wilson explained that "restaurant proprietors, Chris Corbin and Matt McGowan of 'The House of Show Low', very generously provided three $2,000 scholarships. This is their way of giving back to the communities for all the support that they have received as a restaurant in the White Mountain area. Winner's of this year's awards are Audrey King, from Show Low High School, Lila Taylor, from Snowflake High School and Christian Cabrera, from Blue Ridge High School. We try to award all of our scholarships in the semester before they're going to be used, that gives the students an opportunity to maybe select an additional class or pick a pick a class that's got more expensive courses or something like that. Students can then be more proactive about registration and have a little bit more ability to be flexible about their choices. The winners get $1,000 per semester."
Wilson added "I thought that COVID was going to be the end of us. All of the nonprofits in the state were crying the blues, whether it was an animal shelter or a soup kitchen or a college foundation, because we just figured people were losing work right, so how is anybody going to donate. However, it's probably been our biggest donation year yet. People just really stepped up and supported us and said they want to help the students stay enrolled and to get through this and they even established new scholarships, which is where we got the ones like the Mary Kay Smith Lindy, the Doris Reed, an honor scholarship and the Andy Von scholarship."
Wilson said that "Northland Pioneer Colleges' new president, Dr. Chato Hazelbaker, has been really dedicated to making connections with the community. We've been attending town council meetings. Since Dr. Hazelbaker took the reins in July, he's been attending those meetings with me and sharing his goals for the college and they are aligned with our current strategic planning process. So they include increasing enrollment, improving student outcomes, and increasing the college's sustainability, and all of the things related to that. Those are the three key things that he's focused on."