I am writing this letter because I want to express my gratitude for the opportunity that this university has given me. When I was sentenced to 120 months in federal prison for conspiracy of drugs, all I knew is that I had messed my life up and I had to redeem myself but how to go about it, I was unsure. Unfortunately prison doesn’t offer individuals much toward rehabilitation and future achievement. This Scholars Serving Time program does. I struggled during my sentence with conduct at first, but this program has offered me hope, stability, built on my conversational and intellectual skills, along with allowing me the chance to take steps to better my life with my husband, Mike, and children, Eddie, Zachary, and Danica. For that I will be forever grateful to make them proud.
In addition, going to class daily, being exposed to new topics, being challenged and listened to has helped my self-esteem skyrocket. This was not a benefit I expected to receive in my life, but I can truly see a difference in myself and the situations I surround myself in have positive attributes. I pray this program continues to grow. For you all I am truly blessed and thankful. Thanks again.
Nastassia Chanel Frees
Header photo: These MSU students are part of the Scholars Serving Time program administered by Dr. Vicki Hunter. They live at the Federal Correctional Institute in Waseca. This semester the students are taking courses in English, Spanish, and Gender and Women’s Studies. Pictured from left to right, first row: April Bell, Leshay Rhoton, Paige Thurman, Amanda Gregg, Amelia Lesemann. Second row, left to right: Amanda Ferguson, Safara Shortman, Valerie Kupka, Channing Lacey, Rainbow Stoneman, Nastassia Frees, Sybil Rogers. Service dogs in training, left to right: Natty, Bell, Oaklee. Students not pictured: Monica Williams and Kelle Lehman. (Photo courtesy of Nastassia Chanel Frees)