Parrish will participate in ATD’s 2019 DREAM Scholars program to enhance leadership, critical thinking and networking skills. The program culminates in a presentation by the DREAM Scholars to more than 2,000 attendees at ATD’s annual conference in Long Beach, California, on Feb. 19-22.
Also, ATD has awarded Parrish a $1,000 scholarship, sponsored by the community college honor society Phi Theta Kappa.
“I am very humbled to have the honor to represent Northeast State at the 2019 DREAM conference as a DREAM Scholar,” Parrish said. “Northeast State has changed my life in so many different ways, and to have the opportunity to learn how to help change lives of other students really brings it full circle. I am extremely excited to attend and meet the other DREAM Scholars too. I am very thankful for this experience.”
DREAM Scholars are nominated by their institutions, submit applications that ask them to reflect on their college journeys and undergo a rigorous selection process. Their presentations at the national DREAM convening allows them to share what they have learned to improve the success of underserved student populations.
ATD is a nonprofit organization committed to helping underserved populations of college students achieve their goals for academic success, personal growth and economic opportunity. ATD leads a network of more than 220 community colleges in 41 states and the District of Columbia to reach more than 4 million students.
Parrish is a pre-dental hygiene major and expects to graduate with an associate of science degree in May. Motivated by her father’s struggles as a disabled veteran, Parrish said she hopes to obtain a master’s degree in occupational therapy and help injured veterans to enjoy productive lives.
“I am a caregiver at heart, and the most joy I receive is when I see people I care about reach their dream,” Parrish said. “I want my life’s work to reflect just that.”
Parrish said life hasn’t been easy as a college student and describes her life as being on a roller-coaster. After getting married in 2016, Samantha and her husband have been fighting his addiction to opioids. During the long road to recovery, they have overcome many financial and emotional hardships.
Parrish said she credits Northeast State for keeping her focused and on track.
“Being a college student allowed me to discover the strength within myself to achieve goals,” Parrish said.
Parrish’s academic successes landed her on the President’s List for fall 2017 and fall 2018, and the Vice-President’s List for spring 2018. She is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society and is enrolled in the college’s Honors Program. She is a TRiO Student Support Services tutor and peer mentor, a Tennessee Promise mentor and an Honors Institute mentor. She is also a member of the college’s International Club and studied abroad in Italy last summer.
“My experiences here at Northeast State have completely transformed my outlook on myself, my education and my desire for a life I never thought was possible,” Parrish said.