Student Moms and Dads Succeed With Single Parent Scholarship

Alvina and Joshua IvyAlvina Ivy is proud to be called a first-generation college student. But being called "mom" is music to her ears.

Ivy first enrolled at Sacramento State six years ago. She was 33 years old and determined to build a better life for herself and her young son. It hasn't been easy, she says, but she is making steady progress toward completing her degree in community health education.

"I have been faced with many challenges in my life, financially and personally, including losing both my parents at a young age," Ivy says. "There was a time when I wanted to throw in the towel and give up, but my little son Joshua looked me in my eyes and told me, ‘Mom, you've come too far to throw it all away. You have to keep pushing.'"

Ivy's resilience and determination are just some of the reasons she was selected as a recipient of Sacramento State's Single Parent Scholarship, established and endowed by Susanne Roessler, M.D.

"I've been involved with pregnant and parenting young adults for 30 years, many of whom have no education beyond high school and little to no financial or family support," says Dr. Roessler. "I believe strongly that having a college degree is the key to economic security, financial independence, and a stable future for a family."

Dr. Roessler says the goal of her scholarship is to provide encouragement specifically to single-parent students pursuing degrees in the STEM disciplines—science, technology, engineering and math—as she feels students will reap the most rewards from careers in these fields.

"I am very grateful for this scholarship," Ivy says. "It has helped me tremendously and has taken the financial burden off me, and allowed me to return back to school to finish up my degree."

Dr. Roessler, who also has included the University in her estate plans and is a member of the Legacy Circle, hopes the scholarship impresses upon single-parent students that they are deserving of recognition to help them in their efforts to earn a college degree.

"I want them to realize that the challenges and stresses they undoubtedly face in the short term are indeed worth overcoming so that they can reach the long-term goal of job security and thereby achieve a brighter future for their family," she says.

The extra boost to her confidence and pocketbook helped put Ivy on the right path, she says.

"With my degree, I plan on giving back to my community by providing preventative services and educating the community on healthier lifestyles," Ivy says. "I want to prove to my son that no matter where you come from, you can lead a purposeful life and help others."

To learn more about making a planned gift to Sacramento State, contact Lora L. Hollingsworth at (916) 278-6115 or For information on additional giving opportunities, visit