School: Florida Gulf Coast University

Year: Fall 2006-Spring 2010

Sitting in my cap and gown on graduation day was the moment I truly realized that if it weren’t for SSF, I most likely wouldn’t be receiving my Bachelors of Science degree in Biology and Chemistry minor from FGCU. I wouldn’t have been able to afford college housing and receive my biology degree. Without my degree I wouldn’t have a career in an environmental lab where I test for aquatic toxicity.

And it is my job that allows me to pursue my passion in fine arts, today.

When I’m not working in the lab, I’m painting commission pieces and building my portfolio. My goal is to eventually be able to support myself with my art. Art was my first love; the process of making art and seeing the end product both makes my soul happy. I’ve been drawing since I was old enough to hold a pencil.



I remember taking out my watercolors and ink in my room (in the GKP house) to paint plant and animal cells as a study aid. I often used art as an outlet or to practice “productive procrastination.”  I’m sure if you look in the right place, you might find a black ink stain on the carpet in my old room where my desk was pushed against the wall by the bathroom door, woops!



 The Gresham-Kite Pilot house was more than a housing scholarship; it was a house full of diverse personalities who I wouldn’t have had the privilege of meeting if we weren’t roommates.

Julie always made me laugh and was the fashionable and political one, Jen was full of advice and taught me how to [be an] adult, Esther was strong and was artistic with words—we had our poetry published in the school’s Mangrove Review which I wouldn’t have submitted if it wasn’t for her influence. Lauren was an artist and was full of compassion (both of which I admired very much), Ashley was basically my [bubbly] science tutor, and the list of amazing women goes on and on.

Noel Young3

We sat around the dining room table every night for dinner, sometimes with extended friends who became everyone’s friends, and on Thanksgiving with each other’s families. We even sat at those very tables for study sessions that crept into the late hours of the night during exam week. The GKP house was my home during my college career that housed so many memories I wasn’t even aware I was creating and I’m truly grateful for them.

Sponsorship opportunities are available for you to be a part of Noel’s, and many others, Education for Life journey.

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