At nine years old, Stephanie lost her mother to breast cancer. Two years later, her father died of cancer as well.
"That was a dark time," Stephanie remembers, "but I didn't let it control me or make me quit on myself. I decided that I'd grow up and try to make a difference for other kids like I was—those who lost their parents and need some extra support."
In high school, Stephanie formed a Relay for Life team. Currently, she captains MMCC's Relay for Life program through the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, and she sits on the Clare County Relay for Life committee.
"I've watched Stephanie grow immensely in the two years that I've known her. She never stops trying to improve herself, even when growth is challenging," Tammy Alvaro, Phi Theta Kappa advisor, responded. "Stephanie is one of the most passionate people that I've met. It's thrilling to see her harness that passion to affect positive change."
Her long term plans for imparting social change are even more ambitious. She hopes to someday start a foundation that assists others who have lost their parents. Beyond that, she would like to involve herself in cancer research.
"I feel like I've overcome so much, and I've done everything that I could to improve my situation," Stephanie said. "I've tried to show people that, no matter what life looks like at the time, you can do something better for yourself and something better for those around you—you can do something that matters."
Receiving the scholarship from Jack Kent Cooke will help her to achieve her goals and make a difference.
"I'm still in shock," Stephanie stated nearly five hours after hearing the news of her selection. "To find out that my college is going to be paid for—that's just unreal. I keep wondering how it's possible. Why me?"