Deserving Student Awarded ABC Scholarship

Simida 1Six years of higher education added up to a hefty price tag for University of Houston senior Simida Ion –so every little bit of assistance counts.

Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of Greater Houston awarded Simida Ion $450 in scholarship money toward her final semester at the University of Houston. Ion will be graduating with a construction Management Degree in December and will start her career with SpawGlass Construction Corporation soon after. But her journey to a career in construction did not begin at the University of Houston or in Houston for that matter. Initially, Ion received her Associates degree in Architecture in 2009 in Michigan only to be faced with an unexpected uphill battle. Ion’s entrance into a post-grad world mirrored the beginning of a rough recession and a nationwide growing unemployment rate.

“When I graduated, I couldn’t even get an interview. I couldn’t even get someone to look at my resume,” Ion said. “It was hard for me, trying to look for a job in that kind of economy. But everything started to work out for the best. I moved to Houston in 2009, when I graduated. My family had moved to Houston at that point, so I just followed them.”

While the decision to go back to school was a clear one, it was not an easy choice to make. Opting for another four years at a university included a four-year price tag, one that Simida would be picking up on her own. Simida’s family moved to Houston for better opportunities, and she began another trek toward a degree.

“I was already in school for a while, and I didn’t like the thought of going back to school. You also see all of the young people entering school, and you feel older than them. You have to get past that. You have to think, ‘What are you here for – the younger students or your education?’ You move on and if you’re dedicated enough, you can finish.”

0807CasinoNight_2762348reszWhen she first started on her college path, her parents tried to discourage her from a career in construction, statistically being one of few females in the field, which initially led her to her associates in architecture. But they soon saw the opportunities for Ion. She said she has greater appreciation for her architectural degree because it gives her a different perspective of the construction process. She found she wasn’t the only female either in this growing industry.

“When you talk to people about jobs in construction, they’re thinking hard labor. But there are just so many other positions within the industry. Women can do just as well as men. There were three or four girls in my classes. And now, we’re about 10 or 15 percent of the entire graduation class. There are more women considering this field,” Ion said.

With the end of her career path getting closer, Ion found out about the scholarship through the ABC student chapter. She said she barely made the deadline and didn’t expect to receive the award, so she was very surprised to get the scholarship.

“It was a last minute deal. I really needed money. I applied and didn’t think I was going to get it. It was a very good feeling to find out I was a recipient. You have no idea how much every little bit counts. I don’t think people realize how important it is to just be a student, go to school, and not worry about paying for your education. I can be a full-time student better than a full-time worker and a full-time student,” Ion said.

0807CasinoNight_2822129reszWhat’s next for this school all-star?

“To be honest, my post-grad plans are to pay off my loans. It is the first thing on my mind. The next few years I am going to work really hard to pay off my debt. My education is still worthwhile. I’ll be doing something I love, and what I’ve wanted to do for a very long time. That’s the beauty of life, I guess, you pay for what you want. There have been stressful times, but loving what you do is so important. You do what you have to.”

Upon receiving her scholarship, Simida spoke to a crowd of ABC members stating:

I would like to tell you what a great honor it is to receive the ABC scholarship. The money did not only help me financially, but it told me that I am seen as having potential for the future of our industry…I only hope that one day I will be able to provide students, like myself, with a little bit of faith. Thank you.

ABC Greater Houston would like to congratulate Simida Ion for her award and wish her the best of luck in her next endeavors.

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