Rachel Kendall, 26, wins recognition for efforts balancing the difficult tasks of parenthood, working and excelling in school

Oregon City resident Rachel Kendall, 26, was ecstatic when she found out she was the winner of a $1,000 national scholarship. recently announced the winners of the company's Working Parent Scholarship, which recognizes the efforts of students across the country who balance the difficult tasks of parenthood, working and excelling in school.

SUBMITTED PHOTO - Rachel Kendall, winner of a the national Working Parent Scholarship, is pictured above on her wedding day to Phil Kendall in September 2017.  "It's the first scholarship I won from submitting an essay," Kendall said, adding that she learned about the scholarship on a phone app called Scholly that matches students to compatible scholarships.

Kendall is in her second year of a graduate program in counseling offered by Walden University's distance learning program. She is specializing in marriage, couple and family counseling "because I knew I wanted to work with kids and help them learn and grow from the transitions that come with how they relate to those around them," she said.

Walden is accredited by the Counseling Accreditation Association, which certifies that counselors are competent and are practicing ethically.

"The counseling field, for me, seems to match my abilities more than any other profession," she said, noting that her "natural gifts" include empathy, listening and advocating.

"Even though I'm often tired from doing my homework or working at my job, I feel I draw my energy from engaging in meaningful conversations with people," Kendall said.

"Encouraging others to do what they're naturally good at can help them reach their potential, as well as help others along the way."

Kendall would like to eventually have her own private practice, but "supervision is recommended, and even required by most institutions to ensure one's counseling services are helping and not harming the client, especially when you are first starting out," she said.

Distance learning

Walden's distance learning program has worked best for Kendall because it allows her to have a job, work on her degree and spend time with her family.

"Although my preferred lifestyle requires that I commit some of my time toward working a job that I know is short-term in the grand scheme of things, I think my job as a medical assistant has taught me valuable life skills and experience," she said.

These include time management, communicating directly and effectively, and harmoniously interacting with a variety of personalities every day.

In the final phase of working toward her degree, Kendall must complete an internship. It has been quite a process to find one because Walden requires students to secure their own.

"They do this because the laws for licensure are different in every state, and since Walden's student population lives all across the country, it only makes sense to do so," Kendall said.

Although she understands the rationale for students finding their own internships, Kendall discovered that many potential sites preferred or required students to attend an in-state university.

"I was really fortunate to find an internship with a supervisor who has worked with online students before and was willing to do that work to help me complete this portion of my career goals as a credit to the profession," she said.

Finding a scholarship

Kendall was eligible for the Working Parent Scholarship because she has a job and she and her husband, Phil, are helping raise his 12-year-old son from his first marriage.

"My husband brings a foundation of peace and calm in our household, and he is very supportive of helping me accomplish my goals," she said.

Kendall advises anyone thinking of going back to school to start applying for scholarships as soon as possible.

"Even if it seems the odds are against you for starting or finishing your degree, you already have what it takes to accomplish your dreams," she said.

To read Kendall's winning essay, visit

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What: created the Working Parent Scholarship to help families obtain a better education to help build a career.

Applicants submit an essay on how to successfully balance parenthood, working and excelling in school.

History: established the Working Parent Scholarships in 2013.

More than $25,000 has been awarded by the Ohio-based company to recipients since the scholarship was created.

More: The scholarships were created by the company as a way to recognize the financial burden of obtaining a college education.

The cost of paying for a higher education continues to be a strain on family budgets. Average student debt at graduation in 2017 nationally was $28,650, according to a recent report from The Institute for College Access & Success.

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