Scott Koch (cook), is a 21 year old junior at Arizona State University (ASU) pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Earth and Environmental Studies.
Koch credits his family for encouraging him to pursue a college education, “My parents and grandparents didn’t go to college so they wanted to provide me with something better than they had. From a very young age I’ve had people around me telling me how important a college education is.”
Koch grew up in the Phoenix-suburb of Avondale where he recalls having a positive childhood and attending a private Catholic school, “I had a great childhood and have many memories of family gatherings at Christmas and Thanksgiving. I always enjoyed school and found it challenging – especially when I was put in advanced classes.”
Koch first became aware of College Success Arizona in his early teenage years, “I was in the eighth grade when a representative who had earned a scholarship from College Success Arizona visited our classroom and explained how getting good grades and working hard can lead to a scholarship. It was at this point that I really started to focus on excelling at school and working towards getting a scholarship.”
Koch explains that his hard work paid off a few years later, “By the time I was a senior in high school College Success Arizona again surfaced as an opportunity to get a scholarship. I was very fortunate that my GPA and outside interests, such as volunteering, earned me a scholarship from College Success Arizona.”
The scholarship provides Koch and other College Success Arizona scholars pursuing bachelor degrees with up to six-thousand dollars per year for educational expenses.
Koch says the success advisers with College Success Arizona have been helpful, “I’ve had quite a few mentors through College Success Arizona over the years and they have helped to keep me on track – and have always provided good feedback if I’ve had questions or concerns about school or life.”
Koch adds that the scholarships he’s received will allow him to graduate from college with little or no debt.
“I know so many students who are going to graduate with a huge amount of debt and uncertain job prospects. So to get a degree and be pretty much debt free is pretty awesome.”
Beyond gaining an education and eventually a degree, Koch says attending ASU has provided personal growth in other areas, “I’ve met a lot more people and made more friends that I thought I would have. Being surrounded by students with similar interests has helped me focus on my studies.”
Koch is hoping to use his education to pursue a career with a resource management agency such as the National Park Service or the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), “I want to be working outdoors and help to manage public lands and what people do with the lands. I definitely don’t want to be working in a cubicle or office.”
So far as providing some insight or advice to grade school students, Koch says, “You may think that college is far off and will just work out, but if you start planning early and work toward getting some kind of scholarship, I know that you will thank yourself later.”