Last year, our colleague and friend, Shannon Collins lost her battle to Metastatic Breast Cancer. Her courage, strength, and resiliency during her 5 year journey was an inspiration to everyone around her. To honor her, we created the Shannon E. Collins Foundation (SECF). The goal of the foundation is to keep Shannon’s legacy alive in our metal’s community and within the BL Duke family. Every year, scholarships will be awarded to children of BL Duke employee and/or to employee of BL Duke seeking additional education or trade school training.

SECF Committee:  We can’t thank our committee members enough for helping us form and launch the SECF.  They include Kaitlyn Evoy, sister of Shannon and Special Education Teacher , Jen DiSabato, cousin of Shannon, Teacher and 7 year Breast Cancer Survivor, and lastly, Courtney Collins, sister-in-law of Shannon and also a Teacher.  These 3 women were near and dear to Shannon with impeccable education backgrounds, making them the perfect candidates for the SECF committee. Together, they sorted through applications, discuss applicants, and choose the winners for the 2020 – 2021 scholarships.

2020 -2021 SECF Winners

The committee members were impressed with every applicant we received, and it was difficult to choose two winners.  We want to congratulate all of the applicants who applied on their educational success, and thank them for letting us learn a little about them.  We sincerely hope they choose to apply again in the future.

The Shannon E. Collins Foundation committee chose Nia Jones and Jesse Canchola as our two recipients of the 2020-2021 Scholarship. Both applicants have been rewarded $5,000 towards their 2020- 2021 school year tuition.

Nia Jones, University of Missouri

Nia Jones is a student at the University of Missouri with a 3.7 GPA.  The committee members were all enamored by her essays.  We felt like we were able to learn a lot about her in a short amount of words.  Her essays spoke about overcoming obstacles, and the difficulties of the modern world we live in with the increasing ability to compare yourself to others.  “I saw perseverance in her that I had also seen in my sister, and it was an honor to choose her as one of our recipients,” says Kaitlyn Evoy.

Jesse Canchola, Ball State University

Jesse Canchola is a student at Ball State University with a 3.9 GPA. His essay was raw, emotional and inspiring.  Jesse told his story in a way that made us feel like we were an integral part of it.  His writing abilities were matched by his academic achievement.  It seemed like fate when we realized that Shannon and Jesse both went to the same high school.  “Had he been older, he might have crossed paths with my sister, and I think she would have enjoyed that,” says Kaitlyn Evoy.

“Although Shannon’s life on this Earth was short, she accomplished so much during that time.  Even amidst her suffering, she consciously made efforts to connect with everyone around her and support those she loved.  BL Duke starting this foundation in her honor and giving back to the community in her name is something my sister would have loved.  The committee members and I are grateful for the opportunity to help with this process, and we look forward to next year’s scholarship applicants,” says Kaitlyn Evoy.

BL Duke is humbled and grateful to be able to reward students in Shannon’s honor.  Thank you the SECF Committee for your dedication during the selection process.  Congratulations to our winners, the SECF committee looks forward to reading your applications again next year, along with many new applications.

To learn more about eligibility for this scholarship, click here.  If you’re interested in applying for the 2021-2022 school year scholarship, please contact Kaitlyn Evoy at [email protected]  for more information.