Higher Education Recipients Begin Workforce Scholarship at Western Nevada College | Carson City Nevada News


Although Ron Turek and Ann Carlson come from different educational backgrounds and careers, their positive experiences with higher education and its life-changing opportunities have long confirmed to them that a college education is paramount and indispensable.

To support this strong belief, the Reno couple is launching a Workforce Scholarship through the Western Nevada College Foundation.

Coming from an agricultural upbringing on family land in South Dakota and working unfulfilling odd jobs, Turek entered the U.S. Air Force for four years and vowed to pursue his dreams of higher education.

“If it wasn’t for the GI Bill, I could still be working for the Standard Oil Company,” Turek said. “Education was important to me and got me to where I am today.”

First, like many high school graduates, Turek enrolled in a community college (El Camino in Los Angeles County). Then, after starting out in engineering and turning to business to earn his associate’s degree, Turek transferred to Long Beach State to study finance.

“It’s a good starting point for junior college students,” Turek said. “And unless they’re going into the military, a lot of them just stand there and try to figure out what they’re going to do when they grow up. That’s why I focused on guys for this scholarship.If they can get exposure to community colleges and junior colleges, it is so important for their academic and professional career.

While Turek pursued a career in business and finance, Carlson pursued a bachelor’s degree in commerce at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, and the University of Nevada, Reno.

“What kept me going was because both of my parents had graduated from college and that motivation was present in our home,” Carlson said. “Once people get started, they get addicted to education. When I was at Reno High School they had industrial arts (auto mechanics and drafting), and home economics, typing and shorthand…many things that are now obsolete to help people who don’t go not in college.

Carlson was inspired by her grandfather who emigrated from Denmark and eventually opened his own grocery store in Sacramento. He also met Carlson’s grandmother there, and they opened their own wholesale grocery store in Reno.

After graduating from Nevada, she realized that the business world was dominated by men. Around this time, her friends in education convinced her that she was a natural teacher based on her success teaching junior skiers in the Reno area. So Carlson returned to NUR to earn a Masters in Education and became a second-grade teacher at Roger Corbett Elementary School in Reno…for 35 years!

Part of their partnership now involves helping college students in the area. Carlson and his family also made significant contributions to improving the school district of the University of Nevada, Reno, and Washoe County. One of their newest scholarship programs is for single fathers at Truckee Meadows Community College.

“She has done so much to help people in the world of education,” Turek said proudly.

Now, they are focused on preparing WNC students for careers in the healthcare, manufacturing, and service industries, bringing updated skills and talents to their northern Nevada communities.

“We are so touched that we can make a difference in the lives of these young people and help them stay in school and become the professionals they want to be,” the couple said.

For more information on starting your own scholarship, contact the WNC Foundation at 775-445-3240.


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