Graduate student recipient of Arbor Creek scholarship

Graduate student recipient of Arbor Creek scholarship

Graduate student recipient of Arbor Creek scholarship

When Erica Bourland's roommate informed her that she would be moving out later this year, Erica didn't know what she was going to do. She would need to find another roommate in a hurry, find a way to make ends meet on her own, or, as a last resort, postpone her graduate education at Midwestern State University. Thanks to a scholarship for a one-year rent-free apartment at Arbor Creek Apartments, rent will not be one of Erica's worries.

Erica is the recipient of the 2018-2019 Arbor Creek Apartment Scholarship from Maven Management, Arbor Creek's management company. Erica graduated magna cum laude from MSU Texas in May 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in English, and is now pursuing a Master of Arts in English.

Shortly before this semester began, Erica received the call about the Arbor Creek scholarship, and was excited, but wouldn't let herself believe it was real until she had signed the lease. "Then, my cat Jinkx and I were able to celebrate," she said.

In her scholarship application essay, Erica, a Rider High School graduate, states that she is a first generation college graduate, and that she is grateful for the support she has already received that has carried her this far. She began this fall as a graduate teaching assistant, teaching two sections of Academic Research and Writing. "I hope I can be the type of professor I most enjoyed as a student, the type that is kind, encouraging, and humble," she states in her scholarship application essay.

During her undergraduate time at MSU, Erica was a Redwine Honors Program student and was on the President's and Provost Honor Rolls numerous times. She worked as a tutor in the Writing Center as an undergraduate and graduate student. She received the Harry Brown Award, named for the longtime English professor, for best graduate essay in the English department for "Leaving the Center: How Writing Tutors Reach beyond the Four Walls." Erica presented that paper at the Conference of College Teachers of English earlier this year.

Erica was awarded a graduate student travel grant by the Association for Business Communication to present her paper, "æWe Are Always in a Constant State of Crisis:' Crisis Communication and the First Nations Suicide Epidemic," at its international conference in Miami in October.

Dr. Kathryn Zuckweiler, Dean of the Dr. Billie Doris McAda Graduate School, said that MSU Texas is fortunate to have partnerships with community businesses such as Arbor Creek that recognize and foster academic success. "We at MSU Texas are grateful for Arbor Creek's continued commitment to the University. I know that Erica will make the most of this opportunity provided to her by Arbor Creek," Zuckweiler said.

The scholarship originated in 2009 when Arbor Creek Apartment personnel read in the Wichita Falls Times Record News that MSU's then-graduate dean Dr. Patti Hamilton was trying to double MSU's graduate student enrollment, according to Maven Management's area/property manager Kathie Tant. Realizing that the financial consequences can be overwhelming when a college graduate decides to pursue an advanced degree, they decided to take action. The scholarship has helped 10 students since. It provides rent for one year in a one-bedroom apartment and is valued at approximately $7,500. Tant gave credit to all the Arbor Creek staff for supporting and maintaining the scholarship.

Maven Management representative David Ammann said that when his company acquired the Arbor Creek Apartments in 2004, they recognized MSU's importance to the economic, cultural, and intellectual health of the region and wanted to support that in any way possible. "As providers of high quality and affordable rental housing to the entire community including the students, faculty, and staff of MSU, we realized that we could best support the university by offering a housing scholarship to a deserving student," Ammann said. "Over the past 10 years this scholarship has brought us many amazing students, residents, and new friends, and we are very excited to continue that tradition with the recipient of this year's award."