Rosa Teus overcame significant obstacles to proudly say she is a graduate of OCCC, and scholarships helped provide the incentive and financial resources that allowed her to continue through difficulties that easily could have kept her from finishing. She majored in Psychology and Spanish at OCCC, completing her degree in 2021. Today, she is a student at the University of Central Oklahoma, working toward her bachelor’s degree in psychology. She was awarded UCO’s prestigious President’s Leadership Council Scholarship to help with her education there.
While Rosa’s achievements are significant, they haven’t come easily. “My mom couldn’t even afford to buy me a bag of chips when I was young,” she said. She became pregnant with her son when she was 17, and delivered the baby on the last day of high school as a single mother at the age 18. Motivated by the need to provide for her young family, she became a licensed nail technician – but she never gave up on her dream of a college education.
In 2019, Rosa enrolled at OCCC to officially become a college student, at age 26. To help overcome the multitude of obstacles between her and her goal of a college degree, Rosa participated in the Students Connecting With Mentors for Success (SCMS) program, which aims to improve the academic achievement, retention, and graduation rate of students who are the first in their families to go to college.
“No matter what issues I had, I always got the best advice from my mentors. SCMS allowed me to grow, and we laughed and cried together. They even named my son an honorary member of the program! It was a very supportive environment,” Rosa said.
As an outstanding student at OCCC, Rosa benefited from several scholarships, including the Gamel Family Endowed Scholarship and the Women of the South Primary Provider Scholarship. As the scholarships helped to finance her education, they also built confidence in her ability to finish her degree. And she hasn’t stopped dreaming.
“I plan to keep working on education, and open a nonprofit that focus on giving support to homeless people or to open a school to help the community. I believe the more you give, the more you receive. God has been blessing me with so many things, so I would like to help others who aren’t as fortunate as I have been.”
As the first in her family to become a college graduate, Rosa has become the role model for the family. Her older sister is currently following in Rosa’s footsteps as a psychology student at OCCC, and Rosa is looking forward to seeing her son grow up and become an OCCC student, too.
When asked if there was a message for those who helped make her dreams become reality, she proudly declared, “Thank you for believing in me and my dreams and allowing me to prosper. I cannot wait for my son to attend OCCC when he gets older!”
If you wish to support students like Rosa with a contribution for scholarships, please visit the Foundation for OCCC website to make a secure online donation.