UBTech – Mountain America Credit Union partnership impacts lives

By Lezlee Whiting

Officials from Mountain America Credit Union recently heard firsthand how their scholarship partnership with Uintah Basin Technical College (UBTech) makes a significant difference in the lives of students.

Students and their instructors expressed thanks to Mountain America at a special luncheon and detailed how having access to financial resources for their education changed their lives.

“Mountain America has been a long-time supporter of UBTech business programs at both the Roosevelt and Vernal campuses,” said Heather Lowry, UBTech chief development officer.

“We felt it was important to formalize this partnership and move forward in a beneficial way,” Lowry said.

Mountain America recently announced the contribution of a $2,500 scholarship to assist students who enroll in one of the college’s three business certificates: Office Technician, Administrative Assistant, and Business Manager.

“We get a lot of financial requests, this one was a no-brainer,” said Jonathan Brouse, vice president of member services at Mountain America.

Dr. Lyndsay Brown, UBTech business program instructor, said most of the students she sees in her classroom are overwhelmingly women, and many walk in the door “intimidated by all the new technology and struggle to believe in themselves, to have faith that they deserve this for themselves.”

Dr. Brown said what they are shown is that UBTech and their community believe in them and want to invest in them.

“A lot of times they don’t believe in themselves until they know someone else does,” said Dr. Brown.

“You’re the people who make it possible for lives to change,” UBTech President Aaron Weight told Mountain America’s local and corporate officials who gathered for the event. “Your partnership means everything to us.”

Karalee Dockter said at first it was scary to consider returning to school as an older, single mom. Now she’s completed the Office Tech certificate and is starting on a second Administrative Assistant certificate.

“I have goals to be an independent, successful mom and these scholarships are the only way I am able to do this,” said Dockter.

Vernal UBTech business instructor Kurt Case said in just six months Karalee has “gone from fear to learning so much that she’s had to turn down job offers,” as she continues to pursue her educational goals.

“Her skill set has dramatically changed,” he said. “We have a saying in our classroom ‘never allow learning something new to create frustration in your life.’”

Josie Baese, also Case’s student, is working on her Business Manager certificate. As a 73- year-old, she believes that “learning is a life-long process.”

“I started off not knowing anything about the internet. Nothing. It scared the dickens out of me,” said Baese. “Then I acquired a scholarship and now I know the internet.”

She had also never heard of a podcast but has now made her own simulated podcast, said Case, her business instructor.

“This happens thanks to Mountain America,” Case said. “These are real peoples’ lives you are impacting.”

McKenzie Christensen, a UBTech college recruiter, said that even more than she worried about the unknown of returning to school, she feared how she was going to pay for her education. Thanks to scholarships from UBTech partners, she earned a business certificate without financial pressure.

Dakota Bruns, a marketing designer for UBTech, shared that she takes the Office Tech program as a full-time working mother thanks to the open entry, open exit schedule, and the availability of scholarships.

“I know how stressful it can be. Not just because of the time commitment but the mental barriers that tell you ‘I won’t succeed,’” Bruns related. “When you break down the financial barriers, it makes it hard for the other barriers to get in your way.”

Monie Manning lost her job during the pandemic but was hesitant to go back to school to train for a new occupation. Now, gaining a new skill set has “been a breath of fresh air.”

Dakota McKee is currently enrolled in the Administrative Assistant program. Obtaining a scholarship to fund her education made possible what otherwise would have been “overwhelming.” She also personally thanked Mountain America officials in attendance for the opportunities she has enjoyed.

Dr. Brown praised Mountain America for its “faith and investment in our students. Thank you for being part of all our journeys.”

Mountain America officials at the gathering said they were pleased to hear the direct impact their scholarship funds will have on students.

“It’s really, really neat to see the direct impact these funds have,” said Adam Sevy, regional manager at Mountain America. “I am excited for the future. This is just the base. We want to deepen it as time goes on.”

UBTech students, faculty, and administration celebrate with Mountain America representatives the contribution made by the bank to benefit UBTech students in business programs.

Adam Sevy, Regional Manager at Mountain America signs a celebratory check for $2,500 for UBTech business students.

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