In Case of Emergency

RAK Scholarships help students bridge rough spots

Balancing work, family and college can be tricky—especially if unexpected financial difficulties enter the picture. That’s why DCTC created the Random Acts of Kindness Emergency Scholarship fund. Kerry Lurken, a DCTC financial aid specialist, said that students encountering economic hardships can apply for a one-time RAK Scholarship—in some cases up to $550.

To learn more, please contact the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid:

On the RN Track

Kathy Lusack and son Roderick

Kathy Lusack, a 38-year-old single mother, found herself in a bind when daycare costs for her son Roderick, age 4, suddenly doubled. She stopped by Student Services to inquire about additional resources that could help her family and learned about the college’s RAK Emergency Scholarships.

“The emergency funds helped me because my situation changed where I needed to have Roderick in daycare in the morning and in the afternoon,” said Lusack, who noted that the new schedule allowed her to work and go to school. “My daycare costs went from $88 a week to $174 a week.”

The $250 scholarship Lusack received offset the increase and gave her the help she needed to get through fall semester at DCTC. Originally from Minneapolis and now a resident of Burnsville, Minn., Lusack works as a part-time school bus driver for ISD 192, a job she really enjoys because she can take Roderick with her and the hours allow her to attend college.

A former transit bus driver, Lusack has 19 years of experience as a home health aide. She enrolled at DCTC to build her range of skills and follow her dream to become a registered nurse. She is currently majoring in Individualized Studies as she waits to be accepted into the Practical Nursing program.

“My long-term goal is to become an RN and work the case management end of it,” said Lusack, who served as a case manager for Catholic Charities. She sees herself working for a social services agency that utilizes RNs, possibly a “homeless assistance outreach program that primarily works with homeless adults or people with serious or persistent mental illness.”

Independence Day

Terry Quinn

When the Denny Hecker Automotive Group collapsed, closing more than 25 dealerships and eliminating jobs for hundreds of employees, Terry Quinn lost his livelihood. As a finance director with two decades of experience in the major dealership side of the auto industry, Quinn decided he was ready to open his own full-service, independent business selling pre-owned vehicles to people facing credit challenges linked to the recession.

“In the bigger organizations, the ability to relate to people on a one-on-one basis gets lost in the corporate grind,” said Quinn, who plans to flip cars and then sell them, providing assistance through financing, warranties and service, the latter for about 50 cents on the dollar compared to a dealership. He’s going to college to get the technical training he needs to make cost-effective repairs on older model vehicles that will appeal to buyers seeking to recover their credit.

Quinn, 44, enrolled in the Automotive Technician program in fall 2009 and is on schedule to graduate with his A.A.S. degree in 2011. He received a RAK Emergency Scholarship after his stepfather passed away and he needed to fly his four daughters, ages 18, 19, 20 and 21, back from college to attend the funeral.

Originally from Chicago and now a resident of Apple Valley, Minn., Quinn understands the importance of supporting his neighbors during an economic crunch. “I do things for my church and different churches in the community, helping people who are struggling,” he said. “A lot of times, it’s single moms and dads who are unable to afford normal upkeep on their vehicles at the current dealership rates. We’ll do an oil change weekend where the church will buy the oil and I’ll volunteer the time.”

To learn more, please contact the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid: