Joyce Rasing was homeless before she secured housing prior to her first year at Temple.
The junior political science major first lived with her grandparents after enduring an abusive childhood with her mother and stepfather. She said she has never known her biological father.
“It’s really hard sometimes,” Rasing said. “I don’t have anyone to really call or talk to. Sure, I have friends, but they’re not the same as parents or family.”
Rasing said coming to Temple provided her with some of the stability she desired, including a familiar environment since her grandmother worked as a nurse on Main Campus. One of her biggest burdens – to pay for her education – was alleviated when she was awarded the Straw into Gold Scholarship of $10,000 in May 2011. The scholarship is endowed by Ronnyehane Goldsmith, College of Liberal Arts alumna of ’68, ’70 and ‘82.
The SIG Scholarship is awarded to a CLA student who has lost either one or both of their parents, in order to ensure they are able to obtain their professional aspirations. It has been instrumental to Rasing’s ability to finish her undergraduate degree.
“This scholarship was a chance for me to stay in college,” Rasing said. “I was actually going to drop out if it weren’t for this. This was perfect timing.”
Rasing said she was surprised that she received the scholarship, since she wasn’t sure her grade point average was high enough, despite having a 3.6 cumulative GPA.
Rasing’s faculty mentor, Jayne Drake, vice dean for academic affairs at CLA, nominated Rasing for the scholarship. What came as more of a surprise, Rasing said, was meeting the donor who provided the opportunity at the 2011 Baccalaureate Awards Program.
This scholarship, along with state grants, helps Rasing to be confident about paying her tuition, but she said it does not take from her having to support herself. She works several jobs to pay for her day-to-day expenses, at Barnes & Noble on the University of Pennsylvania’s campus and serving as a verbal coach and site director at a nonprofit organization that offers SAT prep to low-income high school students.
She was also a part of Temple’s ROTC program and the Temple University Philippine American Council.
“That [is] the extent of my social life,” Rasing said. “I easily work 40 hours a week, and I’m taking 12 credits this semester.”
Despite the obstacles she has faced, Rasing said she wishes to continue the legacy of Goldsmith once she graduates in Fall 2015. The scholarship requires that the recipient continues efforts to give back to the community post-graduation. Rasing plans to go to graduate school and work in the civil and public service fields, primarily as an urban developer in the interest of the community.
Rasing’s goals after graduation are also hinged on her intention to stay in Philadelphia. The King of Prussia, Pa., native said she believes that being in Philadelphia has helped her to decide her career path.
“I love being in Philadelphia,” she said. “It’s so real, and going to Temple makes you see the reality of the city.”
Rasing said she is grateful to CLA for the opportunities it offers students, adding that it has been nothing but a positive snowball effect on her college career.
Above all, Rasing said it is important to her to remain optimistic.
“It’s tough, but I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Rasing said. “I either work hard or not hard at all.”
Alexis Wright-Whitley can be reached at email@example.com.