Today’s Social Work Student Spotlight focuses on Ms. Je'laya Blackwell. Originally from Lavonia, GA, Je'laya is a freshman Social Work major. Recently, she received the honor of being selected as a recipient of the UNCF KOCH Scholarship. The UNCF/Koch Scholars Program offers scholarships, mentoring, academic and professional support, and networking opportunities to talented undergraduate African American students. Students may come from a variety of backgrounds, but they will share an interest in exploring how entrepreneurship can improve well-being for individuals, communities and society as a whole.
We visited with Je'laya to discuss her experience as a Koch Scholar and her personal goals and aspirations while a student here at Benedict College. Here are a few of the highlights. First, the process of obtaining the scholarship was competitive. After being nominated, the application process included writing five essays that discussed various social issues and her solution ideas. The topics she chose ranged from police brutality to her personal viewpoints on how young adults like herself could take a more active role in leading the changes she would like to see. Clearly, her responses must have impressed because she was awarded the maximum scholarship amount of $5,000.00 annually for four years. In other words, in addition to the aforementioned mentoring and professional development opportunities, Ms. Blackwell will receive a total of $20,000.00 to support her undergraduate education!
As a scholarship recipient, Je'laya was invited to Washington, DC from October 19-21st to be recognized as a Koch Scholar. The trip afforded her the opportunity to network with her peers and hear from scholars and leaders from various sectors worldwide. When asked what her biggest memory from the event was, Ms. Blackwell said,"the encouragement that each speaker and leader gave us to continue our hard work so that one day we could be where they are was very inspiring.“ During our talk one thing Je'laya wanted to encourage all students to apply for scholarship opportunities. Specifically,"be sure you apply for UNCF scholarship opportunities because it is worth it. Do not give up if you aren’t able to get it the first time!" Congratulations on your success, and we thank you for being a great role model for future social work students. #TigerPride #BestOfBC #BCSocialWork #KochScholar