For Laura Grout, going to college was always an option. Although it took her almost 20 years to enroll in the Biology-Healthcare program at the College of Western Idaho, she has never lost sight of becoming a formally-trained midwife. After years of supporting her husband’s military career, raising what she calls a herd of children, and operating a number of home businesses, Grout set out to finish what she started years ago.
“It was a leap of faith coming (back) to school and deciding I would try this,” she said.
Grout graduated from Meridian High School in 1994 and tried college right away. She enrolled at Boise State University—then the juggling started. Between being a new mom, her husband’s career and their finances, school became overwhelming. She ended up dropping out to work. But she made a mistake she has since worked to overcome. She never officially withdrew from college, and it left a black mark on her academic record.
“For years I felt like I was a failure and that I would never amount to anything educationally, that I would never be able to have a career, or ever be successful,” Grout said. “I was starting from a deficit and never thought I’d be able to recover.”
Her leap of faith has been nothing short of miraculous. While steadily working her way through the prerequisites needed to get in to CWI’s nursing program, she became a straight A student. And she has turned those stellar grades into a way to help her pay for college. She received the Laura Moore Cunningham Scholarship from the College of Western Idaho Foundation. The scholarship is renewable as long as a student keeps full-time status and a minimum 3.0 grade point average.
“The gratitude I feel at receiving this scholarship cannot be overstated,” she said. “I never wanted a hand out. I am grateful for this hand up. I can continue my education without saddling myself and my family with added debt.”
This is the second year Grout has received the scholarship; which has more than financially helped her. Her experience at CWI has changed her outlook on life.
“It’s been something that has really altered how I thought about myself for sure,” she said. “I just felt like I was never going to be able to do anything with my life. Now I feel like I can. I see a future. I see that I have potential and that I can do something. It’s really helped a lot.”
In addition to Grout’s full-time credit load at CWI, she also worked to clean up her academic record at Boise State University. Over the past year, she successfully completed one class per semester there—including the summer term. She will now have a clean slate when she returns to earn her master’s degree in nurse midwifery.