She had her parents' blessing and almost everything she needed -- everything except the money. But was improved when she was awarded the superior academics scholarship by the National Association of Black Geologist and Geophysicists.
"I was so happy when I found out about this scholarship," she said. "Most of the scholarships I researched required students to be permanent U.S. residents or citizens."
Each year NABGG awards this $2,000 scholarship to a deserving minority student with outstanding academic achievement. Durant was an ideal candidate. She earned a 3.9 grade point average after her first semester at Grand Valley.
"I knew I had to come here and do really, really, well," she said. "My first semester was very stressful. I knew I wanted to stay, but I didn't know where the money was going to come from."
Money is a common problem for college students, but in Durant's case, there were some special obstacles to overcome. In her home country of Trinidad, the exchange rate to the U.S. dollar is six-to-one which meant attending school in the U.S. would cost her about $150,000 a year. For that price, she said, she could have purchased an elaborate home in Trinidad, but for her an education was more important.
Prior to receiving her latest scholarship, Durant was already receiving four scholarships including one from the Padnos International Center and a few geology department scholarships. Her mother was also taking donations from friends and family in Trinidad.
She is also a Multicultural Assistant for Kistler Living Center. Durant said being an MA gives her the opportunity to give back to the Grand Valley community.
"I've found that a lot of people lack interest in other cultures," she said. "I want to help people understand that diversity is multi-faceted; more than just black and white."
Durant said she is enjoying her education abroad, but looks forward to returning to Trinidad to further her research and career as a geologist in the petroleum industry. She hopes to work drilling for and extracting petroleum, and planning pipelines across active structures.