Gilbert resident Sandie Moore, pictured, earned a $1,000 scholarship through an essay contest conducted by [Courtesy]


Gilbert mom Sandie Moore received a financial boost in her efforts to complete her degree by winning a nationwide essay contest focused on working parents.

The 26-year-old mother of two – she’s also got a third on the way – earned a $1,000 scholarship by taking first in’s Working Parent Scholarship essay contest. As the name indicates, the scholarship is for parents who work while attending college.

“It means a lot; I found that most scholarships are aimed at high school seniors going to college, and there weren’t a lot geared to people going back to college,” she said.

Moore was a little fortunate to find it in the first place; technically, it was her brother who found it through the Arizona State University website and sent the information over to Moore. Both applied by writing an essay in the neighborhood of 600 to 1,000 words, and they were among 500 people in the country to vie for the $1,000 grand prize. The end of the contest didn’t work out as well for her brother, but things did turn out just fine for Moore.

The decision to go back to school is part of what Moore described as a “non-linear path through college,” and goes back to the heart of the recent economic recession. Like many families, the economic funk hit the family pretty hard; her husband was laid off, and Moore had a position that paid minimum wage. Money was tight, which made it difficult for the family to afford presents for Christmas and birthdays.

But the fiscal problems became the necessary motivation Moore needed to go back to school and hopefully avoid falling into the same financial problems in the future.

“There’s no time like the present, and I didn’t want to do this year after year,” she said.

The next step after enrolling at ASU was figuring out exactly what she wanted her major to be. She changed her direction a few times – Moore attributed that to her knack for being good in several areas – but finally landed on computer science. The goal is to become a software engineer and to program medical software, as she has a few medical credits under her belt from her major switches.

Pursuing her degree has led to a few sacrifices at home, especially when it comes to the work schedules of her and her husband. She works the evening shift at Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Casino and Resort on Fridays and Saturdays, while her husband also works there between Mondays and Thursdays.

Moore said the schedule means less time together and a reduction in quality time with their kids, but she said it’ll be worth it once she completes her courses and earns the degree.

And the steps toward the fruition of the big picture are getting closer and closer to realization. She’s already scheduled her classes for the fall semester and is scheduled to graduate in 2015. The fact that she’s rather close to earning it has also given Moore an additional sense of optimism.

“I’m really starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” she said.

Visit for more information about the scholarship.

Contact writer: (480) 898-5647 or


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