Scholarships Open Doors of Opportunity

Katrina Caldwell-Russell, a senior at the College of Criminal Justice, has been awarded three scholarships during her college career.
Katrina Caldwell-Russell, a senior at the College of Criminal Justice, has been awarded three scholarships during her college career.

Sam Houston State Senior Katrina Caldwell-Russell sees a bright future ahead in the criminal justice field with a federal agency, as a victim counselor or perhaps by combating identity theft. But the best part of all is that she will start her career in May debt-free.

Russell is the recipient of three scholarships from the College of Criminal Justice as well as Pell and Texas Resident grants. Without this assistance, she probably wouldn’t have made it through college.

“I come from an low-income background, and my Mom and Dad are disabled,” said 21-year old Russell. “They haven’t had a hand in any of the monetary aspect of my college career. I thank God for the donors’ special tributes to students. I could not be comfortable and stress-free without receiving scholarships.”

Russell, who was born and raised in Dallas, works full-time as a manager of Cato Fashions. She also carries a full load at Sam Houston State University, where she majors in criminal justice and minors in psychology. She came to the College of Criminal Justice with dreams of becoming a homicide detective, but after learning about the diverse opportunities in the field, she is ready to tackle the world.

“I first came in wanting to be a homicide detective,” Russell said. “As I went through the years, I discovered I wanted to do a little of all of it.”

Russell hopes to get a federal job and has eyed working for Immigration Customs Enforcement. After taking a class in Understanding Human Behavior, she became interested in victim services and would consider a career helping victims of child abuse, elder abuse and rape. She recently spoke to a contact working against identity theft, and she may pursue opportunities in that area. She is undecided in which path to take, but she is fired up for anything.

Russell also wants to keep her options open and plans to take the GRE to further her education in the future.

Since her sophomore year, Russell has received three scholarships from the College of Criminal Justice, including the Daughters of the American Revolution, the E.A. “Bud” Olson Scholarship 100 Club of Houston and the Sarah and Michael Cleary Scholarship. The DAR scholarship was given in honor of the organization’s 100th Anniversary and the Olson Endowment Scholarship was set up by the 100 Club in honor of a longtime board member.

The Cleary scholarship is given in memory of Sarah Janine Cleary and also to honor Michael Cleary, a 1997 SHSU graduate. Russell got to meet Sarah’s mother Joy Triplett, at the Honor’s Convocation. “Her Mom was so sweet,” she said.

Russell encourages other students to apply for scholarships at SHSU and said the process is “easy.” There are about 80 scholarships available in the College of Criminal Justice alone, with many more opportunities throughout the university. “It’s really simple,” said Russell. “All you have to do is go to ScholarX on the SHSU Web site. You fill out one application, and for all that you qualify they will apply for you.”

The application requests personal information and essays on mentors, career goals or participation with organizations on campus. Many of the clubs offer scholarships. Applications are generally due in February for the following year and are awarded in April.

Russell credits her incentive to go to college with “The Rae” program formerly at Justin F. Kimball High School in Dallas. By taking the ACT and SAT, applying to two scholarships a month,and meeting with the college advisor, Dreamworks Board of Directors’ Roger A. Enrico introduced a program to cover tuition after scholarship for students from the school. In addition, Enrico provided a $500 grant to all students who took and passed AP classes, which help Russell pay for her senior expenses.

“You hear the advertisement that there are millions of dollars out there in unclaimed scholarships – it’s true,” Russell said. “It has not had to come out of my pocket for tuition, housing, car expenses and I am going to graduate debt-free. I am blessed and thankful. Words cannot express my appreciation to the donors.”

Member of The Texas State University System