The Final Kilometer: Forum Foundation Assistance for University Graduation

The first time Evelyn Moran of Pozo Azul remembers hearing about the Forum Foundation was during one of the many visits made by Professor Elvia Martinez to the Jose de Los Reyes Vasquez School in Caimito.

 It was there that Evelyn learned about the Foundation’s support programs. Although she was not a scholarship student at the Forum Foundation Academy during high school, fate would allow her path and the Foundation’s to cross.

The COVID-19 Pandemic revealed a new opportunity, a new way of providing people with the support they need to be able to complete graduation requirements.  The team in Caimito identified the need to support university students who did not have the necessary resources to finish their studies. Many of them only lack the funding to pay for the final steps, like presenting their thesis, or final projects. This was exactly the situation Evelyn faced as she sought to finish her degree in  Sanitation and Environment at the Technological University of Panama.

“I am profoundly thankful for the support provided by the Foundation. The funds allowed me to pay for the laboratories that I had to perform during the research process of my final project for my bachelor’s degree. “ says Evelyn. 

The project is titled “Analysis of the Impact of Human Activities on Water Pollution in the Zaratí River Sub-basin”. The support provided allowed Evelyn to finish her final project without delay.  Evelyn relates, “I did not have enough money to pay for them right away, since the price was somewhat high. I was unable to obtain additional resources on my own, so I went to the Foundation to see if it was possible to request additional support and cover these expenses.”

What Evelyn enjoyed most about the university was being able to carry out a research project that allowed her to glean a better understanding of  the current state of the Zaratí River sub-basin. This also allowed Evelyn to work in and with the communities, carrying out environmental awareness activities.

“The moment that brought me the most joy was when I achieved my goal of finishing my career. Finally holding my degree in my hands, something I had longed to achieve is an amazing feeling.” Reflecting on her experience as a university student Evelyn shares. “It was a good experience, I learned many things that I did not know in relation to environmental issues, I acquired new friendships, and I had the opportunity to know different places thanks to the academic tours that were carried out.” 

During her time as a student she was also able to participate in environmental social activities as a volunteer. “This brought me a great level of satisfaction.”

For Evelyn “the most important thing she learned is that there are several environmental problems worldwide, which are often unknown to the population, which is unfortunate.” According to her “despite this situation, there are also different solutions that can be used to help reduce these problems and I am pleased to have learned about this topic because I can put into practice such solutions and provide information to anyone who is interested and needs it.”

Evelyn also supported the Foundation as a tutor in one of the well-known educational tours held at her alma mater, Colegio Jose de Los Reyes Vasquez. When asked what advice she would give to others who are struggling to achieve their dreams, she shared the following. “The advice I would give to other students/persons would be never to stop fighting for their dreams, even though there are difficulties on the way there will always be a way to move forward. When you want to achieve a goal there is no barrier that can stop you. I thank  Forum Foundation for always supporting me, for allowing me to achieve my goals, and for continuing to take me into account in the different activities they carry out even though I have already finished my university career.

Early Forum Foundation programs helped students attend and finish high school. Realizing students continued interest in education the Foundation grew into providing scholarships for university students. In 2022, Forum Foundation’s Administrative Team identified several university students on the verge of graduation but lacking the resources to cover the final costs, like printing their final projects. Thus, a group of students was identified, interviewed, and subsequently awarded scholarship funds to cover graduation expenses.

Forum Foundation is committed to supporting young and inspiring people like Evelyn so that they can achieve their dreams and return to their communities to help make change sustainable. #forwardwithforum