Chloe Mueller’s life as a sophomore at the College of Charleston may seem carefree — living off-campus with her best friend from high school, working at the Subway on Meeting Street — but she’s had to work hard to get there. Her perseverance to keep her grades up despite family tragedy earned her a scholarship that will help make achieving her educational goals a little easier.
While still a student at Wade Hampton High School, Mueller lost her younger sister, who passed away from leukemia at age 11. Her mother, a special education aide supporting three children, left her job for two years to care for her, moving the family to Charleston to get the bone marrow transplant she needed.
“I’ve seen what it’s like to live paycheck to paycheck. I’ve seen my mom stressed a lot. I’ve had a lot of financial responsibility,” Mueller said.
While medical school may be in her future, Mueller knew she didn’t want to study nursing or premed biology for her undergraduate degree. Her family’s experience led Mueller to choose public health as a major because of the wide variety of opportunities it offers, both to achieve financial security and to improve the lives and well-being of people both at home and abroad.
“The importance of public health policies is becoming increasingly evident with the onset of the coronavirus. I want to identify health risks and then initiate a plan to solve them.” – Chloe Mueller, Obermier Scholarship recipient
“I have seen firsthand the difference between preventing an issue and treating an issue,” Mueller said in her application for the Obermier Scholarship. “My younger sister had a variety of health issues and an extremely weak immune system. Some issues were unpreventable and had no chance of being avoided. Although I feel if there were better sanitation policies in the community, her bacterial infections could have been avoided. The importance of public health policies is becoming increasingly evident with the onset of the coronavirus. I want to identify health risks and then initiate a plan to solve them.”
Her mother is back in school herself, studying to be an occupational therapy assistant. Mueller said seeing how hard her mother has had to work to get the education she needs to advance in her career has made her even more determined to take advantage of the opportunities she has.
Mueller said it would be beneficial if more students knew about — and applied for — the Obermier Scholarship. The $10,000 award will allow her to graduate with less student debt.
“It has impacted me significantly and helped me not have to borrow as much,” she said. “I can live in Charleston and focus on my career, and not have to work more and stress about money. It’s been amazing, and I appreciate it so much.”
The Obermier Scholarship is one of several created by individuals, families and organizations and administered by the Community Foundation of Greenville. CFG manages the investment of these endowments and disburses scholarship funds according to guidelines set up by the donors so their gifts continue to support deserving students into the future.
Mary Belle Obermier established the scholarship in 2012 with a gift from her estate to help economically disadvantaged students pay for college. Don Wall, who serves on the committee that awards the scholarship, said he believes she would be pleased with the selection of Mueller as a recipient.
“Chloe has persevered throughout her life. We were impressed with her pursuit of a career in the medical field and how that ties into her personal story with her sister and how she’s maintained her grades in college while working,” he said.
The Obermier Scholarship provides assistance to academically deserving students in financial need. Although not required, preference is given to qualified students who are from Greer and those planning a career in military service, in recognition of the United States Navy careers of Mary Belle Obermier’s late husband, John, and his deceased first wife, Edith, both World War II veterans.
- demonstrate financial need
- have a current academic GPA of 3.0 or higher
- be enrolled in or accepted to an institution of higher learning
- submit one letter of recommendation from a teacher, employer or clergy
Scholarship award ranges from $1,000 to 10,000 per recipient.