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Helping Students Design Their Futures

Helping Students Design Their Futures

Annie Mason wanted a change of career, and after talking with a friend about interior design, she “went for it.” Before embarking on her journey, Annie researched many schools, but knew that she wanted to attend Tarrant County College to complete her core curriculum.

As a non-traditional student, she realized that getting back into the swing of college would be difficult, but did not expect to have to stop so soon. After the second week of her first semester at TCC, she withdrew from her class at TCC South to help a friend in need. She spoke to her professor and explained why she could not continue. To her surprise, he loaned her a book to study and told her if she was confident in her knowledge of the lessons, she could test out of the class. This accommodation allowed her to move forward with her studies without having to re-take the class.

When Annie was ready to return to school, she tested out of Algebra and was ready to take on a full load. She met with an academic advisor at TCC, who told her about a scholarship opportunity at Texas Christian University, where she could finish her interior design degree. However, this would require her to complete 19 hours at TCC over the summer – the same summer her daughter was getting married. Without hesitation, she enrolled and by the end of the summer, she was preparing to transfer to TCU with a 4.0 GPA and a full scholarship. After graduating from TCU, Annie launched her own interior design business and has been helping clients design their dream interior space ever since.

As longtime residents of Tarrant County, Annie, and her husband John, are passionate about giving back to their community. They have done so through contributions to non-profit organizations.

One day, while reflecting on her experience at TCC, Annie approached John with an idea to help students succeed in their educational endeavors: she wanted to make a gift to her alma mater. “I was so impressed that they (faculty and staff) wanted to help me,” she said. “(They) wanted me to succeed!”

John gladly agreed and together, they contacted the TCC Foundation. After speaking with a donor relations officer, Annie and John decided to start and endow a scholarship by using their IRAs and a mutual fund.

The John and Annie Mason Scholarship empowers TCC students to pursue their educational goals and enables them to move into satisfying and rewarding careers. “We wanted to take into consideration that as head of household raising dependent children, the student may not have the ability to attend TCC full time or have a high GPA,” she said. “This scholarship would allow them to concentrate on their family and college without the worries of how to pay for school.”