The 2016 scholarship class has a combined 66 years of military service and 17 total post 9/11 deployments.

Ashley Jemerson

Ashley Jemerson

Ashley Jemerson is a senior in the Criminal Justice program at the University of Toledo.  Additionally, she minors in Forensic Science and Spanish. Ashley hopes to pursue a career in law enforcement after graduation. She is particularly interested in Missing Persons investigations. Ashley chose to study forensics as a way to give hope to the loved ones of victims who have disappeared.

Ashley has been fortunate to travel and explore the world as her parents served collectively over 35 years in the United States Army. In spite of repeatedly relocating, Ashley’s parents instilled dedication and perseverance in their children. Through Mr. and Mrs. Jemerson’s service, they have been role models of perseverance in the face of adversity and taught their children to dedicate time to the people and the things that truly matter in life.

Briana Lemon

Since the age of five, Briana’s mother served in the U.S. Army serving as; a light-wheel vehicle mechanic, automated logistical specialist, and financial analyst while on active duty for 16 years.

Being the oldest of 6 children and growing up in a military household, Briana developed the determination to thrive as a leader and scholar. Education has always been a staple in her household and viewed as the key to a brighter future for not only her, but generations to follow. She is currently working towards attaining her graduate degree in Public Health at DePaul University, with aspirations of tackling social determinants that influence gun violence in Chicago and women’s reproductive health.

Erik Reed

Erik grew up in a working class family on the South Side of Chicago.  Never short on imagination he often dreamed of far off places and space travel.  His affinity for science fiction would later translate to a love for Computers, Mathematics and Physics.  While inventing time travel may have been a lofty endeavor, Erik has managed to find solace with doing research in Quantum Computing.

Following in his Grandfather’s footsteps, Erik enlisted in the Navy where he served for 10 years as a Submarine Sailor.  It was there where he learned the value of doing more with less and that with the proper motivation anything was possible.  This discipline has allowed Erik to hone in on his passion with laser focus.  The experiences that were gained has prepared him for the journey that lies ahead.

Erik is currently working as a Systems Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5, in Chicago.  He is presently enrolled in DePaul University’s Dual Degree Program where he is working on his Bachelors in Computer Science and Mathematics, and Masters in Computer Science.  He plans on obtaining his PhD in both subjects upon completion.  His passion for his work is only surpassed by his love and dedication to his wife, Nicole.  Her faith in his abilities has empowered Erik to achieve all of his goals.

Meghan Sabaini

As the daughter of two Coast Guard officers, Meghan Sabaini saw from an early age what military life was like. After graduating from high school in 2002, she decided to follow in her parent’s footsteps and enlisted for 4-years active duty service in the U.S. Coast Guard in 2003. During this time, she completed a 6-month scientific support mission to McMurdo Station, Antarctica, attended Boatswains Mate School in Yorktown, Virginia, then finished out her enlistment conducting law enforcement operations at Maritime Safety and Security Team (MSST) 91103 in San Pedro, California.

While stationed in California she met her amazing husband whom she married shortly after being honorably discharged in 2007.  She began taking classes towards her Bachelor degree when they started their family in 2009 welcoming their first son. Fast forward 6 years, adding on 2 more children, and two cross country moves, Meghan earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Exercise Science and graduated Cum Laude from North Central College in Naperville, IL in June of 2015.

Since earning her degree she ran and completed the Chicago Marathon in October 2015.  Currently, Meghan is attending Rush University to obtain a General Entry Master’s degree in Nursing.  With this degree she aspires to become a pediatric oncology nurse or labor and delivery nurse.

Michael Jewell

Michael Jewell is from West Peoria, IL and served in the U.S. Navy for six years as a Nuclear Machinist Mate/ Engineering Laboratory Technician. He began basic training in 2006 at Naval Station Great Lakes and completed further training at Naval Nuclear Power Training Command in Goose Creek, SC and Naval Power Training Unit in Ballston Spa, NY.

In 2008, Michael was assigned to the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72), a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier stationed in Everett, WA. He completed two deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in 2008 and 2010. He served as Reactor Laboratory Division’s Radioactive Materials Petty Officer during his first two years onboard and spent his final two years training new personnel as Reactor Training Division’s Training Petty Officer. While he learned valuable skills and lessons through the Naval Nuclear Power Program, Michael had always desired a career in healthcare.

Michael separated from the military in 2012 to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). He attributes much of his success at UIC to his military education and involvement with the Student Veterans Association on campus. Following his graduation from UIC in 2015, Michael was accepted into Bradley University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program and hopes to one day practice as an orthopaedic physical therapist when he graduates in 2018.

Mika Reid

Mika Reid is an upcoming senior at Roosevelt University where she is studying psychology with a minor in sociology. Being the daughter of a Marine who served for 30 years, she grew up learning how to be hardworking, diligent, and fearless. Through her mother who stood faithfully by her Marine’s side for 30 years of service she learned how to be compassionate, graceful and the meaning of sacrifice; all wonderful traits and skills that will one day make Mika one wonderful addition to the world of psychologists.

Mika is a three year starter for the Roosevelt University Lady Laker’s soccer team, a Deans list student, and a NAIA scholar athletic.  The wonderful award she received from the Illinois Patriot Education Fund will allow her to continue to be a well-rounded scholar athlete without having to focus on raising money for tuition.

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