The Family First Military Veterans Scholarship

The Family First Scholarship was established by Christopher West and his family. Although Mr. West never joined the armed forces, he believes in supporting the women and men who have served to protect the freedoms that we enjoy. The loss of life or severe impact of service-related disability suffered by our military veterans can be a devastating event for our military services families. In support of these families, the Family First Scholarship has been created to enable Chapter 35 (VA’s Survivors’ and Dependents’ Education Assistance program) benefits-eligible family members to continue on their academic pathways at Arizona State University.

The Family First Scholarship is for undergraduate students at ASU who are Chapter 35 benefits-eligible dependents of military veterans. This award is selected and administered by the ASU Foundation.

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More on the Family First Scholarship

Family First Scholarship

Learn more about the Family First scholarship, 2020-2021 scholarship recipients and Christopher West.


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Family First Scholarship 2020-2021 recipients:

Joseph E.

Year: Senior
Major: Psychology 
Branch of service parent(s) served: Navy (Father)

Joseph is a senior at ASU pursuing a Bachelor of Science in psychology. With his degree, he hopes to continue on to a master’s program. He wants to eventually practice as a therapist for people in transition phases of their lives, namely recent college graduates and veterans leaving the service, as he has seen firsthand that this is an area where the VA and psychology in general seems to be lacking. He earns his living working in technical theatre around the Valley, focusing on set construction and running crew backstage. In his free time, he enjoys working on his car and playing video games with his friends. Receiving this gracious scholarship is giving him the ability to finish his degree when he was worried that he would not have the money to complete it. He would like to extend his deepest thanks to the West family and to ASU for this amazing opportunity. 

Brian-Kalani H.

Year: Junior
Major: Biomedical engineering (neuro-engineering)
Branch of service parent(s) served: Air Force (Father) and Navy (Mother)

My name is Brian-Kalani Headen. I am pursuing an undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering with an emphasis in neuro-engineering. I come from a lineage of retired U.S. military veterans. Both of my parents served; my dad retired from the Air Force and my mom from the Army, and their community service ethic was embedded in me. I hope to utilize my advanced educational knowledge and skills to design medical devices and other modalities that can potentially enhance someone’s quality of life. Target populations include but are not limited to veterans, amputees, and marginalized groups without sufficient health care who have suffered a loss of limbs from accidents and/or health anomalies. I realize the sweat equity I have put into my studies does not stop here, but it begins here. I am thankful for the continued facilitation of the Pat Tillman Veterans Center for supporting me in the achievement of my higher learning desires.

Garrett K.

Year: Junior
Major: Electrical systems engineering
Branch of service parent(s) served: Air Force (Father)

In a few words to classify who I am: I am a smart young man trying to find his way in the world. I had a technical mind even from an early age. I was addicted to building the upper-level, ginormous LEGO sets my parents would buy me every year for Christmas and sometimes my birthday starting at the age of 4. In my high school days, I was addicted to technology and how it worked. I would make money on the side fixing classmates’ phones, iPods and computers. At the time, YouTube wasn’t as big and I really didn’t have a place to go for help with troubleshooting, so with my technical mind, I would figure it out on my own. I even taught myself how to hack iPods for classmates so that they could customize them, all the while making money and learning about both the hardware and software sides of technology. Now that I am in college and have tried software engineering, my heart lies in hardware and what it allows me to accomplish.

Abegail L.

Year: Senior
Major: Interdisciplinary studies
Branch of service parent(s) served: Coast Guard (Father)

My name is Abegail Lent, Abby for short. I am 23 years old and the second oldest of five children; three brothers and one sister. My family is from Yuma, Arizona, but I was born in Okinawa, Japan where my parents met. My father served in the Coast Guard for 36 years and recently passed away in July of 2018. I am currently in my last year at ASU and studying interdisciplinary studies with concentrations in entrepreneurship, innovation and communications. I moved to Tempe by myself to finish my schooling at ASU. Although I am studying to work in PR and marketing, it is music, art and photography that have always been my interests and hobbies. I enjoy singing, recording and writing music. When I do have free time, I spend it on creating paintings that I display in my home and give them as gifts to loved ones. When I am not at home, I am usually babysitting, at my internship or driving to Yuma to be with my family for the weekend. 

Alyshea S.

Year: Senior
Major: Psychology
Branch of service family served: Marine Corps (Husband)

My name is Alyshea, and I live in Maricopa, Arizona with my husband and our two daughters. I am so excited to finally be in my senior year after starting university 17 years ago! I began my college education in 2003 at Iowa State University, initially dropping out due to personal and financial hardships. Three years ago, I traveled to India to study yoga, and since then I have been teaching yoga locally, volunteer-teaching for schools and jails, and created an online yoga studio. Once my youngest daughter started school, I decided I was ready to go back to college and finish my degree. Next spring, I will be graduating with a BA in psychology and plan on pursuing a graduate degree in the School of Psychology immediately after graduation. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, hiking, doing yoga, camping, traveling and going to my kids’ soccer games.

Helena W.

Year: Senior
Major: Journalism
Branch of service parent(s) served: Air Force (Father)

Helena Wegner is a senior studying journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in Phoenix. Her father served in the Air Force before he was injured and honorably discharged. Helena currently writes articles for the Pat Tillman Veterans Center’s monthly student newsletter. She is also the digital editor for ASU's student-run newsroom, The State Press. Last spring, she joined a semester-long project at the Cronkite School covering youth suicide where her team focused on the veteran community. Her bylines can be found in Phoenix Magazine, The Arizona Republic and USA Today. After graduation, she hopes to write long-form stories for digital publications that uncover wrongdoings at a local, national or global level. In her free time, she enjoys cooking new recipes and tending to her plants.

Olivia K.

Year: Junior
Major: Supply chain management
Branch of service parent served: Marine Corps

My name is Olivia. I am a junior studying supply chain management at the W. P. Carey School of Business, and I will be graduating in May 2022. I am involved in the Women's Business Leaders Association, Green Light Solutions and Supply Chain Management Association. I am a WPC 101 facilitator, which is a class to help first-year students learn about the resources and opportunities ASU has to offer. I am currently working as a supply chain intern and Microsoft teams implementation coordinator for W. L. Gore & Associates

Brianna M.

Year: Junior 
Major: Health care compliance and regulation 
Branch of service parent served: Air Force (Father)

My name is Brianna, and I am a junior at Arizona State University majoring in health care compliance and regulation. I am extremely excited to pursue a career in my field because I have always been a huge health care advocate and enjoyed learning the possible problems in today’s society and thinking of ways to fix them. Thanks to this scholarship, I will be able to continue on the road to obtaining my bachelor’s degree. The job title I would like to earn would be compliance manager or officer. Being able to have the opportunity to attend my dream college is amazing. Being provided with the highest education I can get, and becoming one of the first people in my family to attend college and be successful is going to be amazing. Some of my hobbies include painting and outdoor activities, such as water sports. I would say I'm pretty outgoing, and I love to explore new things and always stay on the go.