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Athena - North Idaho College

Athena - North Idaho College

Athena is a lifelong Metallica fan who is pursuing a welding degree after spending the last seven years as a bartender. She has been wanting to move away from the service industry for several years. “I don’t want to blink and then one day realize I’m 80 and still slinging drinks!” she says of her decision to return to school. “I don't want to be stuck at some job I hate for the rest of my life,” she continues. “I would much rather do something that makes my soul happy. My motto really has become, if it doesn't make my heart happy, I don't want to do it.”

Athena considered more ‘traditional’ careers like teaching or nursing, but ultimately fell in love with welding. She is a gender pioneer pursuing non-traditional field, a priority focus for MSI scholarships at North Idaho College. In 2018, only 4% of welders identified as female nationwide!

Welding students at the state-of-the-art Parker Technical Education Center.

Athena is thrilled to be a Metallica Scholar. “I've more or less grown up listening to Metallica and had sentimental attachment to this application when sending it in,” she said, adding, “My mom is also super excited and now when she wants to brag about how many Metallica concerts she went to, I can brag about how cool it is getting a scholarship from the band!”

In addition to the morale boost of knowing she has the support of her favorite band, she is also grateful for the timing of these financial resources. She has been paying for school and trying to pick up shifts as she can in the service sector. Of course, in the wake of a state-wide stay-at-home order due to COVID-19, her income has dwindled. Athena says, “This scholarship helps lessen the stress of navigating this new world. Knowing there is help being given and hope on the horizon makes it a little easier to push on to the next day and onto the next challenge. Things will work out and we will be okay.”