All posts by bernies

BSAP at the Rotary Club

Nancy Scull (BSAP) and Tonia Harries (BSAP Award Winner) visited the Rotary Club of Gaithersburg on January 8, 2018.

Nancy Scull and Tonia Harries introduced our group to The Bernie Scholarship Awards Program. It was founded in 1995 by Mr. Bernie Tetreault to aid high school seniors, and adults beginning or returning to school, with the cost of college or vocational training. Recipients must live in Montgomery County subsidized rental housing. It is a component fund of the Greater Washington Community Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, so all donations to the program are tax-exempt.

Nancy said there were 63 awardees in 2018. She hopes to have a similar number in 2019 and to provide each with a $1,500 award. That might be increased to $2,000 in the year 2020 (coincidence?). A huge 98% of scholarship recipients finish their college degrees or training licenses, 67% pursue 4-year degrees, 17% an associates and 7% obtain masters degrees.

The Bernie Scholarship Awards Program strongly supports public service careers, 18-year-old and older students and “non-traditional” students. Nancy gave examples of people from difficult backgrounds who excelled with Bernie scholarships.

Tonia Harries is a beneficiary of the program. She spoke of how a scholarship had helped her move from near despair to a A.A.S. degree in Health Information Management, which she will complete in 2019.  It has made a huge difference in her life.

The organization’s website is Through this site, one can donate (tax-exempt) to the program and, also, apply for a scholarship.

Donations Needed – BSAP Begins 2019 Campaign

The Bernie Scholarship Awards Program’s mission is to provide financial assistance for college or vocational training programs to graduating high school seniors and other adults who are low-income and live in subsidized rental housing in Montgomery County, Maryland. Our goal is to help our recipients achieve a better future, to rise above their challenging circumstances. The scholarship that we provide may literally be life-changing to a recipient and his/her family. Our awardees are so determined that 98% complete their degrees!

In September 2018, we kicked off another year for our program. We hope to assist more students and to provide higher award amounts in 2019. To do this, we need to raise more funds for scholarships that can be used for tuition, books, fees, computer equipment, transportation, and child care for deserving students. This is exciting and will have an incredibly positive impact on our potential awardees.

In 2018 we had the largest number of awardees ever in our 23-year history; we had 63 awardees, compared to a high of 39 awardees in prior years. In 2019 our goal is to assist even more students and to increase the award amount to $2,000.

If you are interested in more information on our nonprofit, please see or contact us at If you know someone who could benefit from our scholarship program, please share this information.

Thank you, Theresa Wells, Board Member

Did you know? BSAP Provides Ongoing Mentoring

The Merriam-Webster definition of mentor is “a trusted counselor or guide.” Mentorship is part of the mission of our foundation. One-on-one mentorship relationships between board members and scholarship recipients underscores our dedication to the success of our scholarship recipients.

The following is an interesting article that contrasts a coach to a mentor. While coaching is important and needed to assist at the task level, a mentor is committed to building a long-term relationship to assist in the development of the individual. Building a relationship based on trust and guidance is key. We will share stories of some of these relationships that have been built through our program in future posts.

Please share our page and posts with your friends, family and contacts who may benefit from our work of awarding scholarships to qualifying Montgomery County residents.

26 Tips for Success in College

Recently, a post by Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld called, “How to Study Like a Harvard Student” has been making the rounds on the blogging site Tumblr. Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld is both a Harvard and Yale Law graduate and the daughter of infamous “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” author, Amy Chua. Studying for exams can sometimes be daunting, but if you pay attention, plan ahead, and study effectively, it will make a big difference in how confident you feel and how well you will perform. Read a paraphrased version of Sophia’s helpful tips below. You can find the original here.

Preliminary Steps

1. Choose classes that genuinely interest you – that way studying won’t feel like such a drag.
2. Make friends. See steps 12, 23, 24.

General Principles

3. Study less, but study better.
4. Avoid Autopilot Brain at all costs.
5. Vague is bad. Vague is a waste of your time.
6. Write it down.
7. Sometimes it can be rough, but buckle down and get it done.

Plan of Attack Phase I: Class

8. Show up to class. Everything will make a lot more sense that way, and you will save yourself a lot of time in the long run.
9. Take notes by hand. It is better for learning and retention and is less distracting than taking notes on a computer.

Phase II: Study Time

10. Get out of the library. The sheer fact of being in a library doesn’t fill you with knowledge. 8 hours of Facebooking in the library is still eight hours of Facebooking. Study without sacrificing your quality of life by quizzing yourself while still doing everyday tasks like eating or showering.
11. Do a little every day, but don’t let it be your whole day. “This afternoon, I will read a chapter of something and do half a problem set. Then, I will watch an episode of my favorite TV show and go to the gym” ALWAYS BEATS “Starting right now, I am going to read as much as I possibly can…oh wow, now it’s midnight, I’m on page five, and have done nothing for 6 hours.”
12. Give yourself incentive. There’s nothing worse than a gaping abyss of study time. If you know you’re going out in 6 hours, you’re more likely to get something done.
13. Self-care is important, but it can also be really tempting to take breaks when you really don’t need them. When you think about taking a break, try pushing through until you really need one.

Phase III: Assignments

14. Stop highlighting. Highlighting is supposed to keep you focused, but it’s actually a one-way ticket to Autopilot Brain. Write notes in the margins instead.
15. Do all your own work. You get nothing out of copying a problem set. If you don’t know how to solve the problem, attempt it anyways and review the answer key afterwards to help you understand what you did wrong.
16. Read as much as you can. No way around it. Stop trying to cheat with Sparknotes.
17. Be a smart reader, not a robot. Ask yourself: What is the author trying to prove? What is the logical progression of the argument? You can usually answer these questions by reading the introduction and conclusion of every chapter. Then, pick any two examples/anecdotes and commit them to memory (write them down). They will help you reconstruct the author’s argument later on.
18. Don’t read everything, understand everything that you read. Better to have a deep understanding of a limited amount of material than to have a vague understanding of an entire course. Once again: Vague is bad. Vague is a waste of your time.
19. If you do not understand an assignment, go to office hours. Ask for help. It will also help you get to know your professors, which is important for any letters of recommendation you may need to seek in the future.

Phase IV: Reading Period (Review Week)

20. Once again: do not move into the library. Eat, sleep, and bathe.
21. If you don’t understand it, it will probably be on the exam. Review your textbooks, ask your classmates, go to office hours, or looking it up on the internet.
22. Do all the practice problems.
23. You will be required to memorize formulas, names and dates. To memorize effectively: Stop reading your list over and over again. Say it out loud, write it down. Have your friends quiz you, then return the favor.
24. Ask your friends to listen while you explain a difficult concept to them. This forces you to articulate your understanding. Remember, vague is bad.
25. Go for the big picture. Try to figure out where a specific concept fits into the course as a whole. This will help you tap into Big Themes – every class has Big Themes – which will streamline what you need to know. You can learn a million facts, but until you understand how they fit together, you’re missing the point.

Phase V: Exam Day

26. Crush exam. Get A.

5 Healthy Recipes for College Students

Good nutrition is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle, but tuition is expensive, and schoolwork is time-consuming. As a student, eating in and saving money is the practical choice, but budgeting for groceries and finding time to cook can be difficult. Here are 5 easy and budget-friendly meals (which include ready-to-eat grocery store purchases) to get you through the semester!

Rotisserie Chicken, Rosemary Fingerling Potatoes, and Steamed Broccoli
Yield: 5 Servings
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
(Inactive) Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Potato Ingredients:
• 1 tbsp chopped dried or fresh rosemary
• 2 tbsp Olive oil
• 3/4 tsp Kosher salt
• 1/2 tsp Black pepper
• 1lb fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise
Potato Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, tossing to coat. Arrange potato mixture on a foil-lined jelly-roll pan. Bake at 425° for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender, turning after 10 minutes.

Steam 3 cups frozen broccoli in pan until tender. Carve rotisserie chicken, plate, and serve.

Leftover Rotisserie Chicken Noodle Soup
Yield: 4-6 Servings
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 1.5 Hours
• ½ Rotisserie chicken
• 2 Large carrots, cut into chunks
• 1 Yellow onion, sliced thick
• 2 Stalks celery with leaves, chopped
• 2 tbsp Dried parsley
• 2 tbsp Dried oregano
• 2 tsp Salt (more to taste)
• 2 tsp Black pepper (more to taste)
• 6 ounces Bow tie pasta
Throw all ingredients into a large soup pot and cover with cold water by 1 inch. Bring to boil, then turn the heat down to medium-low and leave to simmer for 1.5 hours. Cook until vegetables are tender and flavors are well blended. Add noodles and cook until al dente.

Salsa Verde Chicken Soup
Yield: 4 Servings
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
(Inactive) Cook Time: 30 Minutes Stovetop, 6 Hours (Crockpot)
• 6 cups chicken broth
• 3 chicken breasts (Can also be made with leftover rotisserie chicken)
• 2 cups salsa verde (I use the Trader Joe’s brand)
• 3/4 cup coconut milk
• 1/2 cup sweet onions chopped
• 1 can green chilies
• 1 tsp garlic powder
• 1 tsp salt and pepper
• 1 tsp coconut oil (leftover from coconut milk can)
1. Add all of your ingredients to a crockpot and let simmer on low all day. (I will throw my chicken in raw and it will cook perfectly through the day)
2. If you choose to cook right before serving, simply boil your chicken in a large pot on the stove. Drain your water and add all of your other ingredients that are listed above. Allow the soup to simmer together for 30 minutes.
3. Before serving, use a fork to break up the chicken and shred.
4. Serve with fresh cilantro, avocados, and jalapenos.

Avocado Basil Pasta
Yield: 3 Servings
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
• 9 ounces (255 grams) uncooked pasta
• 1 medium garlic clove
• 1/4 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves, plus more for serving
• 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, to taste
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
• 1 ripe medium avocado, pitted
• 1 tablespoon water
• 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, to taste
• Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• Lemon zest, for serving
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package. For a lighter option, serve the avocado sauce with zucchini noodles.
2. While the pasta cooks, make the sauce: In a food processor, combine the garlic and basil and pulse to mince. Add the lemon juice, oil, avocado, and 1 tablespoon water and process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the bowl as needed. If the sauce is too thick, add a bit more oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Drain the pasta and place it back in the pot. Add all of the avocado sauce and stir until combined. You can gently rewarm the pasta if it has cooled slightly, or simply serve it at room temperature.
4. Top with pepper, lemon zest, and fresh basil leaves, if desired.

Guacamole Grilled Cheese
Yield: 1 Serving
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 5 Minutes
• 2 slices of Bread
• ⅓ cup Guacamole (store bought or homemade)
• 5 Fresh sprigs of cilantro
• 2 slices of Tomato
• ⅓ cup Cheddar, shredded
• ½ tbsp Butter
1. Take two slices of bread and place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Put some cheese on the bread, then add the cilantro and tomato (each on a different slice). Then top with more cheese.
2. Place the tray in the broiler just long enough for the cheese to melt, about 30 seconds or so. The key here is to melt the cheese, but don’t wilt the cilantro.
3. Remove the tray from the boiler and smear on some guacamole.
4. Add 1/2 tablespoon of butter to a skillet and melt it over a medium-high heat. Then place the assembled sandwich in the skillet and brown on both sides, melting the cheese further.