Stories from the Midland Area Community Foundation

Midland Believes Scholar earns Bachelor’s Degree in Three Years

June 17th, 2020

Three years ago, Selena McCray was preparing for her graduation from Midland High School and dealing with all the typical thoughts of most high school seniors.  She was both looking back on the previous four years and processing the uncertainties of the next phase of her life, attending Saginaw Valley State University.  One of those questions was her family’s ability to afford the cost of attending a four-year school.  This concern, however, was helped by Selena being awarded the Midland Believes Scholarship through the Midland Area Community Foundation.

The Midland Believes Scholarship is designed to provide the full cost of attendance for two years at a community college for students who may be the first in their family to attend college or where the cost of college could be a barrier to attendance.  Some students, like Selena, choose to put the money toward attending a four-year school.  In Selena’s case, the money provided by the Midland Believes Scholarship allowed her to live on campus during her freshman year as opposed to commuting from home.  Being on campus allowed her to take advantage of more on-campus activities, meet more people, and feel more connected to the campus community.  According to Selena, “College is about more than the GPA. It’s a time of growth. Use it to find out who you are, what you’re passionate about, and use those things to make a career!”

Selena’s career choice is based on personal experience.  “A rare neurodegenerative disease, Huntington’s Disease, runs in my family. That’s what sparked my passion for Occupational Therapy to help those who are living with various conditions and support the people who are caring for them. It makes me excited to be the person empowering clients to defy the odds and get back to doing what matters to them.”

Selena’s hard work along with advanced credits from her high school IB classes paid off this month, as she graduated Summa Cum Laude (highest honors) with her Bachelor’s Degree in Rehabilitation Medicine, one year early.  As an additional bonus, the Midland Believes Scholarship is helping her to pursue further education.  “I never really thought that I would get a Master’s Degree because of the extra cost but the Midland Believes Scholarship along with the Occupational Therapy program at SVSU made it possible for me.”  She has already received credit for her first year of graduate school and expects to earn her Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy in December of 2021.

Her educational plans do not stop at earning her Master’s Degree, as she plans to pursue a PhD. “I never would have dreamed of earning a Master’s Degree, let alone aspiring to earn a doctorate in the future.”  One of Selena’s beliefs is to not place limits on her goals.  “Don’t discount opportunities because you don’t see them as being realistic.”  The Midland Believes Scholarship was created with that exact philosophy in mind.

If you would like to donate to the Midland Believes Scholarship Fund, please contact the Midland Area Community Foundation at (989) 839-9661 or at