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Education and Advocacy

Kyarah Mair

Education and Advocacy

Posted: 07.21.20

Kyarah Mair is a Central Scholar and senior at the University of Maryland, College Park, where she is studying Public Policy & Racial Economic Inequality, a major she created. “In my junior year, I discovered that I could combine [all my interests] Economics, African American Studies, Sociology, and Public Policy into one area of study,” Mair explains.

Kyarah discovered Central Scholarship when she was figuring out how she was going to fund her education, as she was applying to colleges. “My mom’s colleague suggested we look into Central Scholarship.” It worked out! “Without [Central Scholarship’s] generous support, I would owe thousands in student loan debt.”

With more financial freedom, Kyarah has been able to hone in on what her future has in store. She landed an internship in her sophomore year with Prosperity Now, an organization working to ensure that everyone in the U.S. has a clear path to financial stability, which influenced her decision to create her major. She worked on the Racial Wealth Divide Initiative at the nonprofit. She supported their work with the Northwest Area Foundation on the African American Financial Capability Initiative: a $4.35 million investment aimed to develop and implement innovative solutions to racial, economic inequality in the U.S.

“This experience inspired me to dedicate my career to creating solutions that address racial, economic inequality, and other social and economic issues more broadly,” says Mair. “I was also inspired to find other think tanks and nonprofits doing this work. These experiences have kickstarted my career in being a racial justice advocate and scholar.”

Mair will graduate in August of this year. After graduation, she plans to take time off from school to gain work experience before pursuing a Ph.D. in Social Policy/Public Policy Analysis, Economics, or Sociology. “After I complete my Ph.D., I want to continue collaborating with think tanks, nonprofits, and government agencies centered around people of color and creating solutions that address racial inequities.” Eventually, she plans to create a public sector consulting firm that will help local, state, and federal governments address the racial equity issues their constituents are experiencing and use the profits to give back to the community.

We are so excited to see what the future has in store for you, Kyarah. Thanks for the inspirational work you are doing!

The Impact of COVID-19 - How Have Students Been Affected?

Virtual Voices

Posted: 06.30.20

This week, we chatted with Savoy Adams, a stellar Central Scholar who just finished up his Freshman year at Loyola University. We discussed the impacts of COVID-19 and race relations in the US.

How has COVID-19 impacted you and other students?

Transitioning to online classes was tough – probably just as much for the professors as it was for the students. There are many distractions at home, so it made it harder to concentrate than if we were in the classroom. Also, I was involved in a lot – like the podcast I run at the radio station, and my internship. Everything came to a halt, and we had to adjust.

What do students need right now?

From a practical sense, they need stable technology and internet access because everything is online and hinges on those things. Functioning laptops, Chromebooks, and Wi-Fi are essential for getting through this time.

How has all this affected your summer?

It has changed everything. I was supposed to take a volunteer trip to Israel to teach students how to play squash through a nonprofit. I was looking forward to it, but the organization postponed it until next summer. So now, I think I’m going to focus on career planning. I’m not sure about what I want to pursue, so I plan on emailing and interviewing people who work in fields that I’m interested in, so when I go back to school, I’ll have a better idea of what I want to study.

What do you think the impact of racial inequality is right now?

I have been deeply affected by everything, particularly because I am a Black male. It’s discouraging because Black communities were suffering from COVID-19 in addition to job insecurities, disparities regarding injustice in poverty, education, and police violence. That’s why I want to focus on my career this summer because I want to find a profession that allows me to help others.

Savoy, we know that you are destined to change the world for the better. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and we are so excited to see you continue your collegiate journey!

Screenshot of Abby Case and Amber

College, COVID, and Career Paths

Posted: 06.18.20

This week, Abby Case, our Annual Fund and Stewardship Manager, sat down (virtually) with Amber Quinlan, a Central Scholarship recipient and recent graduate of Bucknell University.

College Milestones

When it came time to choosing her dream school, Amber Quinlan said it was difficult. She knew that she wanted to attend an out-of-state school, but that it would cost more money than in-state. She had to figure out how she and her parents would balance the tuition cost with scholarships and other funding. “I stayed motivated to overcome these challenges because I knew I wanted and needed a degree to pursue a career in psychology. I had a great support system of friends, family, and teachers encouraging me.”

Once she got to campus her freshman year, Amber’s biggest challenge was figuring out how to gain independence because she was 2.5 hours away from home. Like so many other first-year students, she found it intimidating to make new friends. It helped a little that she was a Bauer Scholar, a scholarship program for students from Baltimore City highschools, so she had met up with a few of them before going to Bucknell for the first time.

While Amber knew from early on in her academic career, that she wanted to pursue Psychology, a pivotal class for her was Multicultural Psychology, which she took during her second semester, freshman year. “It set everything in place for what I did with the rest of my college career. I plan on going back to school next year and pursuing a Ph.D. in Psychology and working with diverse and underserved communities.”

The Impact of COVID-19

As we all look back (or forward) to our college graduation, it’s almost impossible to imagine not living out those last few weeks at our academic home, but rather, our literal homes. “We were all in denial first. When we realized we weren’t going back to finish out our senior year on campus, many students said, ‘If I had known that was my last week on campus, I would have done things differently.’ It was hard. We didn’t get a graduation ceremony, and we’re not sure if we’re going to. I still have a feeling that we’re going back, even though we aren’t.”

Luckily, the outbreak hasn’t altered Amber’s immediate plans for the future too much. She plans on taking this year off to study for the GREs and apply to graduate school. Amber hoped to get a job in a lab at a local university this year, but she’s not sure if or when that’s going to happen.

Students’ Needs

When Abby asked Amber, “What do you think students need right now?” she thought about it. “It depends on the student, but many need financial support. Bucknell, for example, has lots of international students who had to relocate. Some couldn’t fly home. Also, I know many students are struggling with depression. Bucknell offered virtual career and counseling sessions online, which helped. But, I think having someone to talk to, right now, is probably the most important for students.”

Thanks, Amber, for taking the time to chat with us! We’re proud of you and wish you the best of luck. We’re excited to see what you accomplish!

New Student Resources During COVID-19

Posted: 05.29.20

Central Scholarship continues to compile resources that students may find helpful throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. We are here to help as much as we can and if you are a student experiencing an emergency related to COVID-19 please reach out to us and we will work with you the best we can to resolve it.
 

Mental Health Services

The National Alliance on Mental Health is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization. They have prepared an informational guide to help people navigate the COVID-19 outbreak.

Learn More


Job Searching tips

Job searching can be a stressful task during normal circumstances, so if you are struggling with how to go about it check out tips from Harvard Business School online.

Learn More


Professional Development

If you are looking to develop new professional skills check out free online courses from Harvard and Coursera.

Harvard Online Coursera Online


Student Loan Information

To stay up to date on your federal student loans visit the US Department of Education to find out more.

Learn More


2-1-1 Maryland

The mission of 2-1-1 Maryland is to be a statewide resource always available by telephone and internet to connect citizens to health and human resources at any time. Specially trained call specialists answer calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Simply dial 2-1-1 to access their services.

Learn More


Central Scholarship Emergency Funding Program for Current Recipients

Central Scholarship’s Emergency Funding Program is available to help current Central Scholarship recipients with any medical, transportation, housing, or food emergencies associated with COVID-19 or otherwise. Current Central Scholarship recipients are eligible for up to $1,000 in emergency funds per request. Current Central Scholarship recipients can email Kayla Bettenhauser at [email protected] for more information.

Sydney

College Cash Winner – Sydney

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Central Scholarship met Sydney at a February College Cash event held on the University of Baltimore campus. This program was developed to provide free informational seminars that cover strategies for financing a college education. Students and their families can learn about maximizing federal financial aid, standing out from the crowd through a scholarship essay, reading financial aid award letters, and understanding student loans.

At this College Cash event, we offered one lucky student in attendance a $1,000 scholarship for their Fall 2020 semester. Sydney was our lucky winner! She is immensely grateful for receiving this award and is thankful she can further her education.

Sydney has lived in the neighborhood of Hamilton in Baltimore City all her life. She had a wonderful childhood with parents who worked hard to give her everything she needed to be successful. Growing up she was always passionate about art with interests in sculpting, dancing, and drawing.

Until recently, Sydney could never give a sensible answer to the question, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” As an artistic person, her responses were “robot princess fairy” or “queen of Atlantis”. However, she can now confidently say she aspires to be an artist. Her dream is to either be an art therapist or an illustrator.

As a current senior in high school, she has still not made up her mind about where to go to college. She is choosing between two amazing options, Virginia Commonwealth University and Notre Dame of Maryland University: however, she’s leaning towards VC!

Congratulations, Sydney, on winning a $1,000 scholarship! Good luck in choosing a college.

Erick-Sowell

Army Career to College Cheer

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Erick grew up near Los Angeles, California and enjoyed the casual beach atmosphere and mild weather. He wanted to be many things when he grew up like becoming a broadcast journalist, political campaign manager, and even a high school social studies teacher.

It wasn’t until applying to colleges that he took a completely different path. Erick ended up signing a 5-year contract to serve in the United States Army, which guaranteed linguistics and military intelligence training. The 5-year contract turned into a 20-year career that had Erick traveling the world. He retired from the Army at Fort Meade in 2018.

He was made aware of Central Scholarship while he was a member of the School of Social Work’s Latinx student group where a former scholarship recipient encouraged him to apply.

Erick is so thankful that we could help ease the burden that came with financing his higher education goals. His scholarship also helped increase his motivation to excel after he had the privilege of meeting some donors.

Erick is currently studying at the University of Maryland’s School of Social Work and is maintaining a 4.1 GPA. Upon graduation, his focus will be on caring for clients within the veteran and the LGBTQ+ communities. He plans to explore serving in both an integrated care setting and private practice, so he can build diverse experience over the next 3 years of the clinical social work licensing process.

We are very proud to have Erick as one of our scholarship recipients. We wish him the best as he finishes school and moves into a promising career!

Announcing Financial Aid Award Letter Service

Posted:

Central Scholarship Announces a New Service: Financial Aid Award Letter Review

We know many students are without access to their counselors or mentors at school as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Central Scholarship is here to help, virtually.

Central Scholarship staff have extensive experience, both personal and professional, navigating the often-confusing world of college financial aid offers. Now students can submit up to six award packages for evaluation and a consultation with a staff member by using the link below.

Central Scholarship is pleased to offer this service until June 30, 2020.

Submit your Financial Aid Packages

Resources for Students During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Posted:

At Central Scholarship, we recognize that the current public health outbreak might be causing unexpected burdens for our students. We are here to help as best we can. Below, you will find a list of resources – from Central Scholarship, the government, businesses, and other nonprofits – that we think might be beneficial to you. Please feel free to reach out to CS staff if you are experiencing an emergency related to COVID-19, and we will do our best to work with you to help resolve it.

Emergency Funding Program

Central Scholarship’s Emergency Funding Program is available to help current Central Scholarship recipients with any medical, transportation, housing, or food emergencies associated with COVID-19 or otherwise. Current Central Scholarship recipients are eligible for up to $1,000 in emergency funds per request.

2-1-1 Maryland

The mission of 2-1-1 Maryland is to be a statewide resource always available by telephone and internet to connect citizens to health and human resources at any time. Specially trained call specialists answer calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Simply dial 2-1-1 to access their services.

From MHEC

The Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA) within the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC), would like to inform you that due to the recent closures of all Maryland K-12 schools the deadline date for the 2020-2021 Guaranteed Access (GA) Grant program has been extended to April 17, 2020.

MHEC is in the process of notifying all potentially eligible GA Grant recipients that the deadline has been extended. The new deadline of April 17, 2020 will also be updated on our website and on the applicants’ To Do List in the Maryland College Aid Processing System (MDCAPS) in the coming days.

Also, please note the deadline for students to submit documentation for the Maryland Community College Promise Scholarship program will remain as June 15, 2020.

Finally, it is important to note that since the GA deadline has been extended awarding for the Howard P. Rawlings Educational Excellence Awards Program, which includes the Educational Assistance Grant and Guaranteed Access Grant programs will not occur by May 1st. Additional information concerning a new projected award date for the 2020-20201 academic year will be shared at a later date.

U-Haul Offers 30 Days Free Self-Storage amid Coronavirus Outbreak

President John “JT” Taylor announced that U-Haul will extend 30 days of free self-storage at U-Haul-owned and -operated facilities to help college students impacted by unforeseen schedule changes at their universities.

The free month applies to new customers with college IDs and is a limited-time offer subject to availability.

Click Here for More Information

Federal Work-Study Students

For students enrolled and performing Federal Work Study (FWS) at a campus that must close due to COVID-19, or for a FWS student who is employed by an employer that closes as a result of COVID-19, the institution may continue paying the student Federal work-study wages during that closure.

Click Here for More Information

From Career Training to Gainful Employment

Posted: 02.28.20

Central Scholarship (CS) Career Training Scholarship recipients have shown an exceptional trajectory of employment. According to a study conducted by The Jacob France Institute at the University of Baltimore, CS recipients have demonstrated higher employment earnings and job retention percentage than their counterparts who participated in state-funded workforce training programs.

“With an average scholarship award of $1,400, Central Scholarship students obtained valuable certifications in a short amount of time and found gainful employment soon after,” the study results state. “The scholarship awards were significant for people who could not otherwise afford to pay for a certificate program without incurring loan debt.”

Key Findings

  • CS Career Training Scholarship recipients demonstrated higher earnings and employment rates than recipients trained by the MD Department of Human Resources wage subsidy and skill-training participants.
  • The majority of CS scholarship recipients were Baltimore City residents.
  • Scholarship recipients demonstrated a high fourth-quarter employment retention according to their chosen workforce training program.

CS’s Career Training Scholarship program offers students an opportunity to land more than just a job; it helps them pursue a career. Career Training Scholarship recipients have entered fields that fit their goals of upward mobility and stability, including healthcare, transportation, construction, and IT.

Interested in applying for a Career Training scholarship? Learn More

Angela Harrison

Program Manager Spotlight: Angela Harrison

Posted: 02.27.20

Specialty: Career Training Application Process

Since joining Central Scholarship in 2006, Angela Harrison has been an integral part of the career training application and award process. She spends most of her time reading grant applications and interviewing applicants who are hoping to receive a scholarship.

What does your day-to-day look like?

It changes a lot throughout the year, except for managing our career training application and award process. I spend several days every month reading grant applications, evaluating documents, and interviewing students. In the spring and summer, after the application deadline for degree-seeking students, that’s pretty much all I do, all the time! After the student awards ceremony in August, I’m focused on student records, making scholarship payments, and preparing for our yearly audit. We do a lot of our community outreach in the fall and winter, like college fairs and our College Cash presentations. That’s also the time when I’m preparing data reports for our board and donors and updating our application for the coming year.

What is your favorite aspect of your role?

Reading applications and doing student interviews, no question. So many amazing people apply for our funding. I’m lucky to get to spend time getting to know them.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Seeing our students go on to success and hearing their stories. That’s one reason I really enjoying working on our data reporting; it’s great to see those success stories translate into hard numbers over the years.

What careers have past recipients gone on to?

So many! We’ve funded teachers, social workers, engineers, computer programmers, doctors, nurses, truck drivers, lawyers, rabbis, therapists, writers, accountants, actors, professional musicians, and plumbers.

Thanks, Angie, for all your hard work and dedication!