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Cheryl-Lynn May

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Super Scholar

Cheryl-Lynn May once thought she would never attend college, let alone graduate. Now she is a Jack Kent Cooke Scholar.

I remember seeing the slogan Start here. Go anywhere. on the back of a bus years ago and thinking to myself how wonderful that would be if it were true. Years later, I realize how accurate that tagline is. Oakton was the catalyst that changed everything in my life and gave me the confidence I needed. Currently, I'm working on a master's degree in American Material Culture at the University of Delaware.

I came to Oakton as a low-income, first generation college student who took six years to earn a high school diploma. I lacked confidence. I wanted to succeed, but I didn't know how. I didn't realize there would be so many people supporting me along the way telling me that I can accomplish anything. Oakton is definitely a place where you can find yourself.

My mentors encouraged me to apply for the prestigious Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. Oakton faculty guided me through the entire process, and I couldn't have done it without their help. My whole world changed and new doors opened because I received that scholarship! I went on to receive the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation's Continuing Scholar Graduate Award, which provided $50,000 for my graduate studies.

In 2008, I was invited to be the commencement speaker at Oakton's graduation, and that was a powerful experience. I was able to inspire students by telling my story, encouraging them to believe in themselves, and letting them know that they are well prepared for their future because of Oakton.

Cheryl-Lynn May, '06

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