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Lone Star College-Montgomery student overcomes medical setback to receive associates degree and prestigious transfer scholarship

Sarah Bigham
Sarah Bigham suffers from acute recurrent pancreatitis; she worked through it physically and financially and will be receiving her Associates of Science at LSC-Montgomery commencement Thursday, May 10. She was awarded the prestigious Smith-Hutson Transfer Scholarship to continue her studies at Sam Houston State University.

Lone Star College-Montgomery student Sarah Bigham was awarded the prestigious Smith-Hutson Transfer Scholarship, receiving financial support up to a maximum of $17,500 per academic year to attend Sam Houston State University. More than 580 students applied and only approximately 20 were awarded the scholarship.

When Bigham was 18-years-old she started having severe pain in her stomach along with a fever, nausea and vomiting. She went to the hospital, learned she suffers from acute pancreatitis, and came out more than $30,000 in debt.

“I did not want to experience the pain again because it was so traumatizing,” said Bigham. “Doctors told me the best way to prevent it was a low fat diet. So without hesitation, I cut out red meat, I cut out fast food.”

She could buckle down and control her diet, but it was harder with her finances.

“I wanted to start college at a four-year university, but I knew that was not going to happen because I had been in the hospital,” said Bigham. “It is a lot harder for my family to afford a university. I am the youngest of five children and my parents are separated. My Mom is an extremely hard-working woman - she works at Subway® trying to make ends meet. I try to help her any way I can – I work at Yogurt Worx and Crossroads Baptist Church. I love my family, everything I do, I do for them, so I also took the financially sound route and started my education at LSC-Montgomery.”

Bigham will receive her Associates of Science at LSC-Montgomery commencement Thursday, May 10.

“I am a first generation college student so I had no idea what to expect from college,” said Bigham. “LSC-Montgomery was a great way to immerse myself in a college environment. The professors have a lot of passion for teaching and making sure their students succeed.”

Bigham is continuing her education in the Honors Program at Sam Houston State University by way of the Smith-Hutson Transfer Scholarship.

“When I found out I received the Smith-Hutson scholarship, I was overwhelmed, I fell to my knees and cried,” said Bigham. “All I could think was, ‘I can afford college and I am going to get a degree.’ To me, education is a privilege. To be able to go to school and better my life is an incredible feeling. It is an honor. I am so excited to go to Sam Houston State University because it is something I have always wanted to do.

Bigham utilized the Transfer, Recruitment and Career Center at LSC-Montgomery to help decide on a major.

“During career counseling, I explored my interests,” said Bigham. “I knew I wanted to do something science and healthcare-related, but my biggest fear is blood. So counseling steered me toward nutrition and I thought, ‘That is perfect, that is what I want to do!’ I realized my experience with pancreatitis has provided me with a unique empathy to help others. It is amazing the effect food can have on the body. I have seen it myself. I was doing really well health-wise, but I had a second attack in July 2017. It was less severe and I attribute my new diet to it. My goal going forward is to graduate from Sam Houston State University, get a steady job I enjoy that helps people and also supports me financially and emotionally. I credit LSC-Montgomery for helping me get to where I am today. I am going to miss being a Maverick. I have had the most unbelievable time studying at LSC-Montgomery.”

Lone Star College offers high-quality, low-cost academic transfer and career training education to 99,000 students each semester. LSC is training tomorrow’s workforce today and redefining the community college experience to support student success. Stephen C. Head, Ph.D., serves as chancellor of LSC, the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area with an annual economic impact of $3.1 billion. LSC consists of six colleges, eight centers, two university centers, Lone Star Corporate College and LSC-Online. To learn more, visit LoneStar.edu.