The Columbia College Alumni Association recently awarded $11,000 in scholarship assistance to 12 students for the 2024-25 academic year. The selection committee, composed of members of the CCAA Advisory Council, reviewed more than 125 applications from students across the nation. In addition to academic merit, applicants were asked to discuss how they have contributed to the college community, how they plan to utilize their degree moving forward and what CC means to them.

Alumni and friends have the ability to turn the dream of a quality education into reality. Click here to support the CCAA Scholars Program.

Below are brief bios on the 2023 CCAA Scholars:

Vanessa Bondy

  • Unionville, Missouri
  • CC Location: Day Program
  • Major: Biochemistry

“Columbia College has become a home away from home. Especially with my work as a lab assistant, I feel very supported by the professors, and I’ve made lifetime friends through my classes. My classes have boosted my confidence in myself and my work. My experiences here will undoubtedly follow me into graduate studies and, eventually, my work as a forensic anthropologist.”


James Eckett ’09

  • Kansas City, Missouri
  • CC Location: Online Program
  • Major: MBA – Information Technology Project Management

“To really sum it up, my time at Columbia College has meant everything, and more foundationally to me as a better professional but also a son and now a husband and father. My graduate school journey has only just begun, but I genuinely feel like I’ve returned to my academic home.”


Austin Findley

  • Hartsburg, Missouri
  • CC Location: Jefferson City
  • Major: Finance

“The time spent at Columbia College has prepared us to be our best. We spent countless hours socializing with peers and world-renowned faculty and getting to know various academics from every background imaginable …  My time at Columbia College meant learning from people across different walks of life and understanding we all have something to offer.”


Peter Giles

  • Columbia, Missouri
  • CC Location: Day Program
  • Major: Sports Management

“My time at Columbia College means the world to me; CC is my home. I have met so many amazing people here and have accrued many cherished memories … The professors and faculty have also made my time at CC meaningful through their commitment to my academic career and growth as a person.”


Alexis Ketelsen

  • Lake Ozark, Missouri
  • CC Location: Lake of the Ozarks
  • Major: Nursing

“My experience here at Columbia College has been more than just an education, and that’s how I wanted it. I go to Columbia College and study there so much that the advisors and I started joking that I live there … I have worked very hard while being here and, for the first time in a very long time, with a past life of failures, being at Columbia College has given me this feeling I didn’t even think was possible – I feel proud of myself. In short, my time at Columbia College has given me friends, family and a sense of purpose. All of these things to me are worth more than anything in the world.”



  • Ukraine
  • CC Location: Day Program
  • Major: Biology

“In essence, my time at Columbia College has been a journey of self-discovery, personal growth and a stepping stone toward my aspirations in the medical field. It has equipped me with the skills, experiences and mindset needed to pursue my goals, and I am eager to continue this journey where I can further develop and contribute to the field of medicine.”


Prabidhi Nakarmi

  • Nepal
  • CC Location: Denver
  • Major: Management Information Systems

“Being part of Columbia College as an international student has been a meaningful journey for me. I’ve worked hard to do well in my studies, and throughout this time, I’ve actively sought scholarships since last year. Unfortunately, success in securing a scholarship has been a challenge. This scholarship would hold immense value for me. It’s not just about the financial support; it’s a recognition of my dedication and the potential I bring to the college community … it’s about the lasting impact on my educational journey and the motivation to keep pushing myself to achieve more.”


Emily Nunan

  • Eldon, Missouri
  • CC Location: Day Program
  • Major: Nursing

“I want others to find that home that I have. To me, Columbia College is a place where students feel cared for, supported and safe; that is what made me beyond happy with my decision to attend CC, and that is what CC means to me.”


Zyeon Oatts ’23

  • Peters, Missouri
  • CC Location: Online Program
  • Major: Master in Criminal Justice

“In the future, I’m excited to tell everyone I meet that I am a (2x) graduate of Columbia College. This institution strives to provide educational opportunities to people from all walks of life, but on top of this, CC makes an effort to ensure every student, faculty and staff member feel like they are valued and are seen as individuals. I hope to take this mentality with me as I begin my journey in the criminal justice field.”


Anthony Vernon

  • Portland, Oregon; United Kingdom
  • CC Location: Online Program
  • Major: Political Science

“Columbia College has given me an opportunity to realize my academic and intellectual potential: potential that might have gone untapped for the rest of my life. I owe my newfound confidence and pursuit of new life goals to Columbia College. In fact, writing this fills me with so much joy as it reminds me of how lucky I am to go to school.”


Riley Wassilak

  • Rolla, Missouri
  • CC Location: Day Program
  • Major: Nursing

“My time at CC has not only blessed me with numerous amazing people, but it has highlighted the qualities in myself that I wasn’t aware of before … It has been extremely important to my development to be in such a positive atmosphere with kind people. I will look back on my time at CC and think of all the positivity that came from it. It has allowed me to transform and bloom into a better version of myself. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity of being able to attend this college!”


MaKayla Watson

  • Fulton, Missouri
  • CC Location: Day Program
  • Major: Biology

“My time at Columbia College means the world to me! I have enjoyed everything about CC … they have helped me along the way while supporting me to accomplish my dreams. Everyone is family there, and nobody is ever being negative to the students! Every professor has been willing to work with my appointments and help me each step of the way. I like how they always make extra time in their schedules for meetings and allow students to ask each question without judgment. I am so glad I chose CC to further my education!”