Author: Cheryl J. Lake

Thanks for visiting my blog! My name is Cheryl J. Lake. I am currently a part time graduate student in the MBA program at the University of Nevada, Reno. Exercising critical thinking, complex problem solving and productive collaboration are skills we build on in each course. Though challenging, the program is invigorating and relevant in today’s market. I plan to celebrate my graduation in May of 2015. My career experience in managerial accounting and finance has enabled me to gain expertise in multiple other areas such as real estate management, non-profit administration, audit, corporate taxes, contracts, benefit administration, budget management and payroll. I truly enjoy learning the ins and outs of a system and finding ways to make the system work more efficiently. I believe in organizing my life in more ways that you could imagine but am lucky enough to have some free spirited influences in my life to balance me out. I am passionate about educating, motivating and empowering women. With the support of other women, we can accomplish anything! @CherylJLake

Never Too Many Resources for College Funding – Part 2


University of Nevada, Reno

This is part two in my two part series on private scholarships.  Last post we covered a ton of resources for financial assistance.  I continue on that great list below.

The Learn To Drive Scholarship, offered by Shift Insurance, asks that you share a learning experience that occurred while driving or as a passenger.

If you are interested in working in the food service industry, the Clark E. DeHaven Scholarship may be able to help.

The AICPA offers multiple scholarships for students interested in pursuing a career in accounting.

The U.S. Bank Scholarship Program is probably the simplest of all those I’ve mentioned,.  It’s entirely online and no essay is required.

Marketing students will want to check out Marketing EDGE scholarships.  With approximately 9 funds, each has different eligibility requirements, but if you are interested in marketing, there is one to fit your need.

Google offers multiple assistance programs for students pursuing technology or computer science as a course of study.

The Mark A. Forester Scholarship was established by Rocky Mountain Mattress to honor Senior Airman Mark Forester who was killed in 2010 while serving his country in Afghanistan. To apply, you must write an essay explaining how you honor America’s military heroes.

The Spencer Educational Foundations offers both undergraduate and graduate scholarships with varying requirements for each.

The HotelsCheap Scholarship Program offers need based scholarships in both the Spring and Fall.

The Veteran’s United Foundation Scholarship offers assistance to active duty service members, their spouses, their children and veterans of the United States Armed Forces.

The best way to take on this massive research and application process is to get organized!

  • Set aside some time to do your research.
  • Make a list of the scholarships that you may be eligible for.
  • Prioritize your application process based on the application deadlines.  Set these dates up in your calendar to make sure you don’t miss any important deadlines.
  • Complete your first application packet.  Many require an essay.  Once written, save your essay and modify as needed for future application packets.  It’s always easier for me to work off a rough draft rather than starting form scratch for each essay.

There is a wealth of funds available for all kinds of students.  By investing a little sweat and tears, you may be fortunate enough to get some assistance in reaching your goals.  Good luck and let me know how it goes!




You Can Never Have Too Many Resources for College Funding


I have some great information to share with you about financial assistance for college and/or trade schools.  This is part one in my two part series on private scholarships.

Many of the scholarship sources I have sited in previous posts are national organizations.  Private, non-university affiliated donors also ease the financial burden of a college education through scholarships and grants.  With varying eligibility requirements, these organizations make funds available for a diverse student population.  Donors could be professional, trade or governmental organizations, civic or religious groups, fraternal organizations or private foundations.

Researching these programs can be time consuming.  Most often the application packet is different for each program.  Your time and effort can be well worth it as often these organizations are dealing with a small pool of applicants.  Remember to begin researching early as deadlines vary.  Also check back often for changes in eligibility and new programs.

Below I highlight some resources I found for students that are not graduating seniors.  Some are specific to Northern Nevada while others have criteria such as a specific area of study, military duty or family situation.

Community Foundation of Western Nevada offers multiple different scholarships with a variety of eligibility requirements.  This non profit organization awards scholarships and grants from a variety of local donors.

The “Do-Over” Scholarship does not have too many strict eligibility requirements but requires an essay explaining a “do-over” moment in your life.  We all need a second chance and they want to help!

The American Business Women’s Association (ABWA) – Stephen Bufton Memorial Educational Fund Scholarships has been supporting business women for over 50 years in the way of grants and scholarships.

If you are of hispanic heritage, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund can help you find funding for any stage of your educational program.

The Honey Lake Hospice Scholarship is specifically for a student with interests in hospice or palliative care, gerontology or oncology.

The Pat Cox Memorial Scholarship is dedicated to the tireless dedication of Patricia Cox, who taught at Natchez Elementary School in Wadsworth for 20 years.

I have so many more to feel you about but I will let you check these out tonight.  Will any of these work for you?  Check out my next post for the more!

A Film With a Mission: Miss Representation

The Statistics:

Women make up 51% of the US population, yet only 20% of the members of congress are women.

35 women have served as US Governors compared to 2,319 men.

Women hold only 5% of clout positions in telecommunications, entertainment, publishing and advertising.

US women earn $.77 to every $1.00 that a man earns.

More than 20% of teens in the US have sex before the age of 14.

53% of 13 year olds are unhappy with their bodies.  That number increases to 78% by the age of 17.

The US is the only major industrialized nation without paid family leave.


The Mission:

To shed light on how mainstream media contributes to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence in America.


The Method:

A 2011 American documentary titled Miss Representation.  The film is a collection of stories from teenage girls as well as interviews with women of influence.  The purpose is expose the media messages in our society that portray women as valuable for her youth, beauty and sexuality rather than her capacity as a leader.


The Writer, Director and Producer:

Jennifer Siebel Newsom – filmmaker, speaker, former actress and advocate for women and girls.


The Venue:

The film has been shown on OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network.  It is also shown at various venues around the U.S. and internationally.  Check out the film’s website for a listing of screenings as well as a request for a screening.

Related Ventures for Women:, launched in 2011 to coincide with the film, offer tools to women and girls to help them reach their full potential.

Girls Club Entertainment, LLC is a film production company that Newsom founded and serves as Chief Executive Officer.  Its goal is to develop independent films that highlight remarkable women capable of changing the current culture for women.

The Invisible War, an award winning documentary that exposes the rape epidemic in the US military.

Do you agree that women are misrepresented in our society?

Love Tahoe? Try SNC

Sierra Nevada College is a private 4-year liberal arts college located in Incline Village, Nevada.  Established in 1969, it’s 18 acres are nestled amongst the Tahoe National Forest at the north shore of Lake Tahoe.  What a beautiful setting for learning!

The college offers over 37 majors and concentrations in 5 departments. At a college where “learning is not a spectator sport,” you can imagine the variety of hands on learning experiences they offer their students.  Whether an internship, debates, scientific field work, business plan competitions or student research opportunities, this college prides itself on being innovative in their teaching techniques.  The 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio is a huge benefit enabling personal attention and learning opportunities with the faculty.  82.4% of classes have less than 20 students.  SNC’s bachelor’s degree in Ski Business and Resort Management is one of only a few in the country.  Specific to the snow sport industry, it is a very popular course of study.  There are plenty of other options in the departments of fine arts, humanities & social science, business and science & technology.

Being situated just minutes from the snow capped peaks around Tahoe, SNC can’t help but dominate the sports competition in women’s and men’s ski, snowboard and freestyle.  Both the ski and the snowboard teams have taken the title of USCSA National Champions –  the ski team 23 times and the snowboard team 7 times.  Continuing on our outdoor theme, SNC offers an Outdoor Adventure Program, which gives each student access to a variety of opportunities for adventure.  Whether a surf trip to Mexico or backpacking in Yosemite, this private college truly fosters the love of nature.

Even if you aren’t thinking about going back to school right now, the scenery involved in a trip to Sierra Nevada College is definitely worth it!  Take a drive and check out the campus – just for kicks!



What About UNR for Your Education?

Last week I took a look at Truckee Meadows Community College here in Reno.  This week I will be looking at the University of Nevada here in Reno.

Originally established in Elko, UNR relocated to Reno in 1885.  At that time over half the states’ population lived in the Reno-Carson City area so the new location just north of downtown Reno was selected to service more of the states’ population.  Today, UNR offers nine degree granting, academic colleges and over 145 degree programs.  Whether undergraduate, graduate or doctoral, there is sure to be a degree and program to peak your interest.

Not only is UNR recognized as one of the top 150 national universities in research and development, but they also take pride in playing an active role in the community.  Cooperative education programs address vital needs in every Nevada county.  A partner with the city of Reno in IBM’s “Smarter Cities” grant program brings fact based economic expansion to better our community.  In 2012, UNR’s part time MBA program was ranked #4 in the United States by Business Week.  Us News and World Report ranks UNR in the top 100 public institutions, classifying them as Tier 1.

Student life is very active with over 250 clubs on campus.  Chances are good that another student is in the same situation or has the same interests as you.  There are close to 3,000 students at UNR with the average age of a student at 32.9.  Even as an older student who doesn’t reside on campus and attends classes part time, I feel a sense of community.  The professors are experienced and educated in their fields and take every opportunity to help their students succeed.

Reno truly is “The Biggest Little City in the World” with its small town feel, big town amenities and access to a ton of outdoor activities within a one hour radius.  The Reno-Sparks citizens are loyal UNR Wolf Pack fans and show their spirit whenever they can. Local business love UNR students and show their appreciation with the discounts they offer.  All this brings us to recognizing Reno as a great college town.

What’s holding you back from heading back to classes?


Check Out TMCC for Further Education

Today I wanted to take a few minutes to talk to you about Truckee Meadows Community College here in Reno, Nevada.  Established in the 1970’s, it originally went by Western Nevada Community College.

This community college’s main campus is located just north of Reno.  Credit and non-credit classes are held here as well as four other college sites and over 20 community locations.  The college offers 40 programs of study that can lead to over 100 different degrees.  The Associates of Arts (AA) and the Associates of Science (AS) degrees are designed for those who plan to transfer to a four year college or university to continue towards a bachelor’s degree.  This is an economical way to get the first two years of your degree out of the way for a fraction of the cost.

TMCC is also a great place to earn a certificate of achievement in a specific occupational area.  This type of program is shorter than a degree program and more specialized to your chosen field.  Certificate programs are offered in a number of areas, such as:

  • Web Development
  • Dietetic Technician
  • Health Sciences
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Automotive Certified Technician
  • Music
  • Solar Energy Technician
  • Nursing
  • Paramedic
  • Welding
  • Veterinary Technologies

TMCC is well known in the area as a job college, establishing or strengthening job skills for students to contribute to the local community.  95% of students end up staying in Reno after completing their schooling.  Affordability and flexibility are keys to success for the diverse student population at this institution.

The TMCC Re-entry Center was established to assist those returning to school and/or the workplace.  Some of the services they provide are:

  • vocational assessment
  • counseling
  • work experience
  • job search assistance
  • referrals

In addition, financial assistance  can be available for tuition, childcare, books, supplies and transportation.  The campus also offers students child care at the campus’ on-site day care center,  the E.L. Cord Child Care Center.

Don’t be afraid to ask about other services available on campus to help you succeed.  What services would make going back to school a reality for you?


Don’t Let Hidden Insecurities Keep You From Pursuing a Goal

Since starting this blog in January of this year, I have had some fantastic opportunities to connect with some great women.  Our conversations revolve around the power women have when we support each other, the importance of motivating others (for them as well as ourselves) and how education broadens the choices we have for ourselves as well as our families.

There are four women I can think of off hand who are facing financials constraints as they contemplate further education.  I am a planner and like to have a budget set up prior to taking a financial leap such as going back to school.  But when I applied to grad school,  my plan wasn’t rock solid.  I had submitted my FAFSA and brainstormed with my family but it wasn’t until I jumped in and started school that all the pieces fell into place.  Maybe I didn’t think I’d get in or some major family issue would keep me from taking that leap.  I think many times women let these financial worries hold them back when deep down it is our fear of the unknown as well as other insecurities that keep us from pursuing a goal.

By checking out scholarships and other assistance programs, we can alleviate some of the anxieties and get the push we need to move forward  towards our goals.  Check out these resources and see if it will give you the incentive you need to reach further towards your goal of further education.

The Talbots Women’s Scholarship Program is specifically for women who choose to return to college later in life.  Thirty scholarships of $5,000 and one of $30,000 are given to women pursuing a bachelors degree.  Scholarships are given in honor of Talbots founder, Nancy Talbot.

The Linda Lael Miller Scholarship was established by #1 New York Times bestselling author, Lindal Lael Miller, to encourage women to improve their lives through education.  Applicants must be over the age of 24.  Maximum grants are $1,000.  $10,000 is awarded each year.

PEO Program for Continuing Education is one that I have mentioned in a previous post. Up to $3,000 can be awarded to women who have a break in schooling of over 24 months and are within 24 months of reaching their educational goal.  An applicant must be sponsored by a chapter in order to apply.

Emerge Scholarships awarded 14 women over the age of 25 with scholarships ranging from $2,000 to $5,000 this year.  This organization believes in empowering women through education as well as recognizing the importance of giving back to a community.

The Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship is named for the first woman to be elected to the United States Congress.  Women applying must be over 35 as well as low income to meet eligibility requirements.  87 women benefited from this scholarship program in 2013.

Whether you proceed to the next step or hold off for a bit, I hope you check these programs out and keep that information in your back pocket.  Hopefully it will come in handy one day!

Photo Credit

Have I Told You Everything You Need to Know?

IMG_2359With a daughter who will be graduating high school is less than a month now, I have a “to do” list a mile long.

The list of family and friends has been formulated and announcements and invitations have been sent.  We had been stressing about which professional pictures we’d use for the announcements as none of them really screamed “this is who I am.”  Her and I finally went up on the hill and took a bunch of fun shots and compiled a collection of photos that truly show each diverse facet of her personality.

Plans for her first year of college are on track as she is anxious to move on to the next stage of her life.  Thank goodness she understands prerequisites and won’t be too disappointed with a boring first year course load.   Unsettled on a career path as yet, but heading the right direction.  She is anxious to be with a new group of people and experience a new set of challenges.

The graduation party planning is not yet complete but on track.  Just a few friends and family to celebrate the past 18 years as well as excitement for the future.  I spend a few hours a week sorting pictures from her childhood to show during the gathering.  I only get through a few pictures a week as I end up reliving the memories of her youth.

Nearing the end of my list, I can’t help but sit back quietly and reflect.  Have I told her everything she needs to know?  Is she really ready to face the world?  What if I missed out on passing along an important lesson?

Did I tell her…

to have a plan,

to always give 110% at whatever you do,

to not be afraid to ask questions…ever,

to accept being wrong sometimes,

to always give love,

to take time for the little things,

and most importantly,

that this is just the beginning.

You have your whole life ahead of you and you are the navigator in this crazy thing called life.   Stand tall and be strong, you can do this!

Be Patient: 21 Days is Not the Magic Mark!

If 21 days were all it takes to form or change a habit, I would have it made!  I’d be eating healthy, exercising and getting all my schoolwork done.  Three weeks just isn’t long enough when I am looking at establishing an exercise habit or healthy eating habit.  We all know that there is no safety zone once we hit day 21. There is no guarantee that will keep us from cheating once we’ve made it to that magic mark.

Unknown-1Research shows that 21 days may be sufficient to establish a simple habit such as drinking the required 8 glasses of water a day.  But a more challenging habit such as running 4 miles 3 times a week (for a non runner) will take a lot more than 21 days to establish.  To vary the timeframe even further, every person has different goals and motivational factors.  This allows for even further deviation from any kind of standard habit forming timeline.

Ok, enough harping on how long it’s going to take to form a habit.  The important thing here is to decide to make a change for the better by establishing goals.  Hopefully, with enough perseverance, we can manage the goals to ultimately form great habits.  Here are a few tips to do that.

  • Start slow.  Don’t overdo it by running the full 4 miles on day 1.  Set up a schedule starting slow and increasing progressively.  This will prevent discouragement early on as well as sore muscles!
  • Be consistent.  Engage in your new habit every day for a good 30 days.  This is just giving yourself every opportunity to latch on to your newly acquired habit.
  • Forgive yourself.  Sticking to your new commitment will be tough so allow yourself a few “oops”, acknowledge the slip and move on.
  • Partner up with a buddy.  By working with another person on a common goal, you provide accountability and much needed motivation.
  • Remove as much temptation as possible.  Why make it any more difficult that it needs to be?!

Healthy living and eating habits will benefit you for years to come.  So remember that building any habit takes three things:  intention, consistency and time.  Commit to those three items and your habit may be attained sooner than you think.

What’s on your “habit making” list?


Solitude: A Necessary Component of Leadership

William Deresiewicz delivered a lecture titled “Solitude and Leadership” in October 2009, you can read the full length essay here.  It was given to the plebe (first year students) at the United States Academy at West Point.  It is a great essay that is still very relevant today.

Deresiewicz points out that many students are conditioned to be hoop jumpers rather than thinkers.  Corporate ladder climbers are moving up by saying the right things to the right people and going with the flow.  Conformity is rewarded rather than risk taking.  This lack of creativity and independence has led to a crisis in leadership in America.

We need more thinkers willing to take the risk of climbing the ladder while exhibiting the moral courage to stand up for what one believes in.  These independent thinkers must possess confidence and not be afraid to reach beyond the safe boundaries.  Arguing for one’s ideas even when they may not be popular should be acknowledged and commended.   We need to nurture thinkers rather than doers and encourage independence in order to develop great leaders.

Today’s social media society is constantly barking other people’s thoughts and ideas, never giving one time to hear their own thoughts, let alone develop any ideas to go along with them.   We need to stress the importance of developing one’s own thoughts and ideas.  Deresiewicz points out that his first thought is never his best thought.  In fact, it is always someone else’s thought, the conventional wisdom.  It is only by taking the time to concentrate that he can bring all the parts of his mind into play to develop an original idea.  Letting our thoughts simmer rather than moving onto the next text, tweet or update brings us back to thinking for ourselves.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASolitude is an important component of leadership.  This doesn’t necessarily mean being alone but it does mean getting to know yourself better.  With the constant barrage of other’s thoughts and opinions, a little self reflection can be helpful to develop our own reality.   Friendship is an important part of gaining this introspective.   When we converse with a  trusted friend, we gain better insight into who we are as a person.  The value of one or two trusted friends will by far outweigh any number of virtual friends.

Take some time to yourself today.  No updates, no tweet and no texts, just you alone or with a friend.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADevelop some thoughts you can call your own.

Believe in yourself and your ideas.

Argue for what you believe in.

You are worth it.