Southwestern Student Scholar Spotlight: Amber Reis

Amber Reis

Southwestern Oregon Community College’s Foundation is making a difference in the lives of students every year.  Students are selected for a broad range of scholarships based on their academic competence, community service, background, extracurricular activities, and many other traits.  Numerous promising students have been awarded.

The Southwestern Foundation saw the same promise in Amber Reis and awarded her its 2008-2009 Distinguished Alumni Scholarship.

Reis will receive the scholarship in 2008-09 and 2009-10 academic years in the amount of $1,116.00 per term for a total value of $6,696.00.

Amber is certainly a very deserving student for this award,” said Marie Simonds, Foundation Executive Director.

Reis has spent her entire life in Coos Bay. This shy-person-turned-leader has spent time participating in many extracurricular activities throughout the years, including band, choir, cross country, track, and 4-H.  During high school, she was a varsity cross country runner for four years and a captain for one, qualifying for state twice and winning the Most Valuable Runner award.  She was a varsity track athlete for three years and a captain for one, also winning the Most Outstanding Junior award. The breadth of her talents are further discovered when examining some of her other activities: Head Drum Major for one year, playing the alto saxophone competitively, four years Club President of the 4-H, member of National Honor Society, and member of the swim team. She has also been very active with community organizations and service groups. Reis graduated from Marshfield High School with a 3.72 GPA.

Why did Reis choose Southwestern?  “Our little town is surrounded by so much beauty and filled with so many wonderful people,” said Reis. “My decision to stay in this little close-knit community was only strengthened when I found out that my parents would be giving me a graduation present a week late—a new baby brother or sister.”

Reis exudes charisma when she talks about her future.  “I love being around kids, which is one of the reasons I want to become a pediatric nurse,” she said. She shadowed a pediatrician while still attending Marshfield High School.  With the help of the Distinguished Alumni Scholarship, she plans to obtain a bachelor degree in nursing through the combined SOCC and OHSU four-year nursing program. While seeking her four-year degree, she aims to volunteer at a local hospital or clinic on the pediatric floor. Her end goal is to continue changing children’s lives through nursing.

The Distinguished Alumni Scholarship is funded by Southwestern Oregon Community College Foundation. It is a two-year tuition scholarship for a student of any age from the college district planning to attend Southwestern full-time. Selection is based on scholastic ability, academic achievement, citizenship and financial need. To qualify for the scholarship, recipients must maintain at least a 2.0 GPA, enroll for the credit requirements of the scholarship, and adhere to satisfactory academic progress guidelines for Financial Aid.

“Amber is certainly a very deserving student for this award,” said Marie Simonds, Foundation Executive Director.

The economy and resulting fluctuations in investments has led many Foundations to reconsider their strategies.  However, Southwestern’s Foundation will offer their 2009-2010 scholarships at the same level as the previous year. The listing of scholarships and application can be found on the Foundation's website ( The due date for scholarship applications is 5:00 p.m. on March 2, 2009.

During the 2008-2009 scholarship year, the Foundation gave out $44,000 in scholarships to 49 recipients.  There were 199 total applicants.

“Despite a decrease in investment revenue, the Foundation recognizes the key role the scholarships we provide play in student enrollment and retention,” said Simonds. “We are pleased to be offering scholarships at the same level as last year.”

“I cannot fully express my gratitude to you for providing me with this scholarship,” Reis said.  “Thank you for helping me accomplish my dream.”