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Jennifer Witherbee | Chelan’s Mandy Robison finds success at WSU

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For many of us, fall marks the start of a new year, even if we’re no longer tied to the academic calendar.

It’s a great time to reflect back and prepare to start fresh. For me, that now means clean windows, an organized desk and turning over my closet. For college students, fall means preparing to depart for the school year away from home and one year closer to entry into the “real world.”

This week I had an opportunity to visit via email with one of our second-year Washington Apple Education Foundation (WAEF) scholarship recipients — Mandy Robison of Chelan. Mandy is on the WSU campus in Pullman. In true college student style, she responded to my email at 11:44 p.m. following her evening study session at a local coffee shop. What a fun time in life!

Mandy responded to my inquiry about her thoughts and feelings departing for college this year versus her freshman year, “As a sophomore I feel much more grounded and comfortable at this university. With a year of experience under my belt, I know exactly what I want to accomplish now that I’m back at school.”

Paying for college is a challenge for many students and families. Tuition and fees at WSU this year are $11,396; the university estimates that cost of attendance for one year is $27,696.

Mandy has helped pay for some of her college expenses from scholarships, but she is reliant on her own labor during the summer months to add to her college fund. Mandy is a true Chelan girl with agriculture roots and a love of warm weather. She shared that summer is essentially a time for her to work hard but after working for her father thinning trees and bookkeeping for his orchard business she makes sure find time to enjoy the sun over the break. As an additional boost to her school fund, she spent the month of July in Pullman painting apartments.

We hear from many of our students how important it is to them to help others. After Mandy completes her pre-nursing requirements in Pullman she plans to attend nursing school at the WSU campus in Spokane. Her career plans are still developing but currently she is interested in becoming a neonatal or ER nurse.

Now a sophomore, Mandy plans to get more involved in school programs and recreational activities. What has her most excited about the coming year? “This year I am really looking forward to attending sports games both at WSU and the University of Idaho. I am so excited to be a part of the ZZU Crew and the massive student section at our Cougar games. Go Cougs!”

Good luck to all of our area college students returning to college or embarking on a brand new adventure!

Jennifer Witherbee is executive director of the Washington Apple Education Foundation. She can be reached at