From a young age, Trident Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences student and Veterans and Family Scholarship recipient Eleanor Donaldson had dreams of joining the military. But helping her family make ends meet got in the way of those dreams. By dropping out of school to take on full time work, her hopes of enlisting were dashed.

Despite this setback, Eleanor continued to help the people around her in everything she did. Bit-by-bit, she built a career rooted in service, joining a Regional Occupation Program which allowed her to take two big steps forward - completing a GED and earning a professional certificate. Her success continued when she completed a certified nursing assistant program and then earned an associate's degree. She continued to persevere in service and obtained her License Practical Nurse Licensure after passing the NCLEX Exam.

Her career choices have been driven by a dedication to helping others. This dedication also led her to love, allowing her to meet her husband, a military veteran, who she describes as "the man of my dreams."

What's next for Eleanor? She has her sights set on using her skills and energy to serve as the director of a wellness facility in her home state of South Carolina. The current director, who is planning to retire, sees Eleanor as a natural fit for the role.

"This scholarship is an achievement that will afford me a position that only comes once in a lifetime," states Eleanor. "I have worked long and hard for this opportunity."

Trident is proud to award Eleanor Donaldson as the recipient of the Veterans and Family Scholarship!

Trident: What have the challenges that you've faced in your life taught you?

Eleanor Donaldson: The challenges have taught me to be more aware and more cognitive of what's around me and what choices I need to make. They have taught me that education is number one and it takes you where you need to go. I am also thankful for my mentors who have taught me strength and perseverance.

"It felt good to see the joy and emotion of my student. It validated the impact I have to my students." JC Elampero, Student Success Advisor, Trident

Trident: What advice would you give to Trident students who have faced challenges in obtained their education?

ED: I would advise Trident students to look within themselves and to challenge themselves. When I first saw Katie's video and heard her say, "light the fire within yourself," it's something that really resonated with me. It's a statement that goes far beyond education, and beyond just looking at yourself and thinking how far you can make it. That fire is there in all of us.