Meet Noelle, a Scholarships for Military Children Grant Recipient

By: Michelle Baldanza
July 28, 2020

Shortly after Noelle Nafus was born in December 2001, her dad, Marine Corps Col. Matthew Nafus, was deployed twice, once to Pearl Harbor for a yearand then to Iraq for a year.During her senior year of high school, her dad was called to active duty twice more. As the Marine Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officer for New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, he was first called up to help with the COVID-19 crisis and again for the 2020 hurricane season.

Noelle is one of 500 recipients of the Fisher House Foundation’s Scholarships for Military Children scholarship grant. The program, designed for kids just like her, is in its 20th year supporting children of military service members and veterans and is administered in partnership with the Defense Commissary Agency. Each awardee receives a $2,000 scholarship. 
“It means a lot. Any help I can receive, I'm so grateful for,” said Noelle. “This is definitely going to help me.” 

Noelle will attend Barnard College of Columbia University in New York and plans to major in film studies. There were concerns that she would not be able to attend in person due to COVID-19, but as of early July, she should be able to start classes this September. 
“I'm super excited to get involved on the Columbia campus and I was thinking about joining the Columbia Daily Spectator, which is the newspaper,” she said. “I love to sing so I was hoping to get involved in some choirs and a cappella groups and different things like that.” 
“I'm really proud of him,” said Noelle of her dad. “I don't remember what it was like for him to be on active duty, so this was really the first time for me. It's hard, because I miss him, but I'm so proud of him for helping out in any way he can.”  
Applications for the 2021-22 school year will open in December and close in February. Exact dates will be announced on Fisher House Foundation’s website for scholarships: Here you can learn more about the Scholarships for Military Children and Foundation’s other scholarship program, the Heroes’ Legacy Scholarship. The Foundation also supports the National Military Family Association’s Scholarships for Military Spouses. You can also access the Foundation’s online scholarship search engine that helps identify opportunities based on each applicant’s unique circumstances. 
“I'm just so happy to have this opportunity and definitely the scholarship to go to my dream school,” said Noelle.