Houser receives first Colleen Shook Citizenship Award



Mariana Houser, right, is pictured with her husband, William. Photo provided/Mariana Houser

Mariana Houser, right, is pictured with her husband, William. Photo provided/Mariana Houser

Freedom and a sense of security are advantages that come with being an American citizen, an advantage Monticello resident Mariana Houser’s family sought, like many others.

Houser and her family moved from Mexico City to Monticello to create a new life when she was only 15 years old.

In 2019, at the age of 31, Houser was ready to start the process of becoming an American citizen, a journey she traveled with the support of her husband, William.

She submitted her application in May of 2021 and obtained her citizenship interview in January 2022.

“I had to study a lot,” Houser explained. “For the test, I had to memorize 100 questions, there are only 10 questions on the test, but you do not know which ones may be on it.”

Houser has been employed in White County for more than 13 years. She worked for Jordan’s Manufacturing for 10 years and has been with her current employer, Adkev, for nearly three years.

Houser credits her success on the citizenship test to the Literacy Volunteers of White County, who assist with different areas of study such as English as a second language, financial literacy, preparation for the high school equivalency test, and more. Hauser spent several years working on her English with tutors, Bill and Janice Madden.

“They are really good at this; they helped a lot with the process,” Houser said. “They helped me with my English and studying for my citizenship test.”

Colleen Shook was one of the founders of The Literacy Volunteers of white County. When Shook passed away last year, donations were made in her honor to the organization to be for the Colleen Shook Citizenship Award.

Houser was the first recipient of the award. On April 4, she received a $750 scholarship to help her pay for expenses incurred to obtain her citizenship.

For more information on the Literacy Volunteers of White County and the services they offer, call 574-583-0789.

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