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Anna Heaton: Veteran Scholarship

FROM RUSSIA TO THE U.S. NAVY TO VENTURA

Anna Heaton came to the United States from Russia at the tender age of five. When she entered kindergarten, she didn’t speak a single word of English.

At home, things weren’t much easier for Anna. She describes her parents’ marriage as “toxic,” and eventually her father left Anna and her mother with just $10 to their names.

Anna remembers this vividly. She also remembers thinking she never wanted anyone to ever have that kind of power over her and her life again.

Motivated to pursue a higher education and strengthen her mind, body and soul, Anna joined the United States Navy at just 19 years old. “It was a great stepping stone for me,” remembers Anna. “I traveled the world, found a purpose and drive that I’d never had and met the love of my life.”

Anna’s husband Cody was transferred to Naval Air Station Point Mugu – and Anna soon discovered Ventura College. In the fall of 2017, Anna decided to enroll and pursue her dream of becoming a surgeon. While studying in the library one day, she learned about the Ventura College Foundation’s scholarship program and decided to apply.

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“When I found out I was awarded the Associated Students of Ventura College Scholarship, the Luskin Phoenix Scholarship, and the McNeely Family Scholarship, it felt incredible,” remembers Anna. “It was a reminder of my purpose, that people care and want me to succeed.”

Anna has immersed herself into the Ventura College community over the past few years. In addition to her work as a tutor, she founded the Females in STEM Club, volunteered as a mentor for the Amgen Biotech Program, and serves as a Ventura College Foundation Student Ambassador.

As busy as she is, Anna maintains a 4.0 GPA and is on track to graduate in Spring 2020. After that, she hopes to transfer to UC Davis, which is highly regarded for its woman-focused STEM programs. She would like to continue her education until earning a M.D./PhD – then working as a surgeon.

Anna says her scholarships through the Ventura College Foundation has made it all possible, which makes her work as a VC Foundation Student Ambassador even more rewarding.

“Without the Foundation’s scholarships, I’d be in a mental state of distress,” says Anna. “They really allow me to focus on my studies and life as a student. If I didn’t have scholarships right now, I also don’t think I’d be able to afford going to medical school later on. I love spreading the word about the Foundation’s resources to my peers.”

Anna is also deeply thankful for the donors who make the scholarships and programs of the Ventura College Foundation possible. “The opportunity that they give me to pursue my education just makes me want to work that much harder and reach all the goals I set for myself. My journey is going to be very long, so to have people be there for me like this really means everything to me.”