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Central Scholarship Presents $30,000 Award to Cecil County Grad Student

Central Scholarship Presents $30,000 Award to Cecil County Grad Student

Posted: 08.11.16

Central Scholarship Student Loan Pay-Down Award Winner Angela Anthony
After providing financial aid for Angela Anthony to pursue higher education, Central Scholarship (CS) has dramatically stepped in to help the first generation college student from Warwick pay off her student debt.

At last week’s 2016 Student Awards Ceremony, the nonprofit selected Anthony as the winner in its second annual Student Loan Pay-Down lottery, presenting her with a check for $30,000.

Seven in 10 college seniors graduate with an average of $37,000 in student loan debt. Through the generosity of Ira and Marcia Wagner (CS’ board chair and his wife), CS is presenting the Student Loan Pay-Down Award to one qualifying graduate every year through the nonprofit’s 100th anniversary in 2024.

Anthony’s name was announced after this year’s drawing among 34 eligible candidates.

“I have worked 20 to 30 hours a week since I was an undergrad to pay off my loans, but in an instant, half of my student debt was gone,” said Anthony, who is finishing a master’s program in international development at Eastern University in Pennsylvania. “This is such a blessing!”

“I’m truly thankful for the generosity of this organization,” which is changing the lives of so many students and making their dreams come true – regardless of the burdens that they have,” she added.

After graduating from Bohemia Manor High School and attending Cecil College, Anthony turned to Central Scholarship for interest free loans to help finance her undergraduate tuition.

A Dean’s List student and tennis team captain, Anthony traveled the Atlantic Ocean to Europe, Africa and South America in the Semester at Sea Global Study Abroad Experience, “realizing that not only is there great beauty in this world, but there is also immense poverty.”

“Because of what I saw on my voyage, I decided to become a leader with Youth Against Complacency and Homelessness Today and pursue a career in international development,” she said.

Central Scholarship President Jan Wagner, Board Chair Ira Wagner and his wife Marcia present the Student Loan Pay-Down Award to Angela Anthony
After earning a bachelor’s degree in political science in 2015, she embarked on graduate studies – with more help from Central Scholarship.

“Central Scholarship was a huge supporter of me achieving my undergraduate degree, offering awards each year I was in school which relieved me of a financial burden while I was in school,” she said. “I had hoped that Central Scholarship would be that same blessing for me while pursing my Master’s degree, and thankfully, again they so graciously provided.”

“This extra money in the form of the Interest Free Loan has allowed me to spend more time in my studies and less time working to pay for school,” she added, noting that throughout college, she has worked a variety of jobs including van driver, hostess, merchandiser, assistant lay director at a church and events staff at a catering facility to pay down her loans.

With the $30,000 award, she can be even more career-focused with a lot less pressure on her shoulders.

“Angela Anthony exemplifies the type of students that Central Scholarship looks to fund – those with the drive and determination to go after their goals despite financial hardship,” said Central Scholarship President Jan Moylan Wagner, MBA. “We were delighted to assist her in pursuing higher education and now delighted we can help her pay down her student debt.”

Congrats, Devon & Victoria

Posted: 07.18.16

July College Cash Winner Devon Campbell
Congratulations to July’s College Cash® winners, Devon Campbell (photo left) and Victoria Ekeanyanwu (photo below). Devon attended the “Finding Money for College” session where he learned about the vast world of scholarship opportunities available to him. He writes, “After reviewing what I had learned, I felt like I won the lottery.” Devon’s newfound knowledge helps him pay for Morgan State University, where he is studying electrical engineering. With two more school years ahead of him, Devon has plenty of time to brush up on techniques to save money on tuition and living costs in college. Following the event, we ask College Cash® scholarship applicants to write an essay describing what they learned. Devon wrote:

Upon receiving an invitation to the College Cash® event, I immediately thought “This will be a waste of time.” What could the people at this event tell me that I did not learn from my guidance counselor or any other financial advisers? I decided to attend the event anyway because it was free, close to home, and I had nothing planned for the day. When I arrived, the staff offered me refreshments, a folder full of scholarship and grant information, and a free pen. My attitude toward the event changed instantly because I am a sucker for free gifts. I entered the lecture hall and prepared to take notes on my phone.

By the end of the event, I had overloaded my brain with endless information. It felt like I wrote down every word that was spoken and filled the folder with thousands of annotations. I learned of many scholarship and grant opportunities, the important components to a strong essay, and what not to include in the essays. For example, a strong essay tells a story but does not ramble. I learned much more information, but the most important points were to keep my opportunities open, choose opportunities where the odds are in my favor, and email the committee to start networking with them. I found these to be the most important points because they can greatly improve the chances of winning. I can also use them outside of applying for scholarships. I could apply these tips when applying for a job or an internship. For instance, after a job interview, make sure to contact the employer to show interest in the job position. The event made me realize that I was limiting myself to a rather small amount of opportunities and that resulted in no scholarship money.

After reviewing what I had learned, I felt like I won the lottery. I had learned all of the keys to winning a scholarship and maybe even a job title. I was so excited and I felt like I would eventually burst if I did not share my newly obtained knowledge. I went home and sent my notes to my college roommates, fellow band members, and even students still in high school. I also informed them of the event taking place the following day. I knew that I was decreasing my chances for winning money but I needed to help others. As long as I could help someone save money and avoid debt, I felt like a winner. Since then, dozens of people have told me that they have decided to apply for scholarships using the notes that I sent them. Assuming that they will also share my notes, I have to change my application strategy for scholarships and other opportunities.

I plan to expand my search by looking for scholarships through companies, government agencies, schools, and more. A number of scholarships get declined because the essay did not express what the committee was looking for, so I will seek help from others to review my essay. If my strategy does not win scholarships, I believe that I have pulled away many lessons from the event that can be applied in many other places. I am glad that I attended the event and I will make sure that I take advantage of every opportunity that comes my way. I would like to thank the Central Scholarship team for giving me the opportunity to pay for college and further my education. Hopefully I can make an impact on others in the same way that Central Scholarship impacted me.

July College Cash Winner Victoria Ekeanyanwu
Victoria Ekeanyanwu
is a student at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. As a third year law student, Victoria knows a thing or two about graduate school loans.  She attended a College Cash® session about managing student loans that is geared toward students who are getting ready to graduate. She wrote:

As a current graduate student with existing student loans and continuing to receive loans, my attendance at Central Scholarship’s College Cash® Student Loans event was very necessary. After I stopped working in July 2014 to begin graduate school full time and no longer had a source of income, I stopped making student loan payments. Instead, I deferred my payments and neglected to monitor my account not realizing the repercussions of my actions. At the event, I learned what could happen when one defaults on a loan. I learned that I could be reported to credit bureaus and no longer be eligible for federal student aid. The information relayed at this event, especially the Student Loan Repayment Tips handout, reminded me that I am doing all the wrong things.

The first message that impacted me was to get organized, develop a plan, and stay on course—never missing a payment. Following the event, I finally logged on to my Nelnet account to find out how much I owe. I also visited to check my private loans balances to confirm that I had none. Using the Know Your Loans: Student Loan Quiz that we completed at the event, I made a chart to organize. I listed the types of loans I have, the total amount borrowed, the interest rates, and the due dates. Based on how long I expect to take to repay my loans, I developed a plan. I plan to pay off the most expensive loans first. And to avoid delinquency and default, I plan to pay each month and on time. I hope to resume work as soon as possible and will stay on course.

The second message that impacted me was to pay more now to save more later. Like most students, I made minimum student loan payments when I did make payments. Thanks to the event, I now realize it is wise to pay more as it saves me time and money. By paying extra principal each month and paying biweekly instead of monthly, I now realize I will pay less interest over the life of my loans and repay my loan earlier. Moving forward, I will put any extra money that I earn, towards my student loan payments so that I can get out of debt sooner.

Congrats, Wanda & Fela

Posted: 06.01.16

June College Cash Winner Wanda Parks
Congratulations to our first two College Cash® scholarship winners, Wanda Parks and Fela Langston. Wanda Parks (pictured on the left) graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies from Coppin State University this month. She attended the January “Finding Money for College” College Cash® session. Following the event, we ask College Cash® scholarship applicants to write an essay describing what they learned. Wanda wrote:

In a session about finding money for college, oddly, the most important thing I learned was the part about writing the essay. As a whole, I am confident in my writing skills. I am currently taking English as a minor and have even published some of my writings before. So, while there was quite a bit of good information during the session like “use your time wisely,” “build your network,” and “proofread, then proofread again,” the most important things to me were the reminders to stand out, to show my passion, and to be excited about me. I consider myself to be quite ordinary and somewhat boring. I am still in the process of figuring out how to stand out, and to be excited about me, but I am so glad I attended the session to get my thoughts flowing in the direction of identifying my passion.

In the College Cash® seminar, the question was asked, “What is the key thing, the main aspect of who you are?” The first thing that came to my mind was, “I am a mom.” That sounds so basic and normal and there isn’t really much exciting about it. So, I struggled with that. I thought, “How do I translate that into something that helps me to stand out, show my passion or get someone excited about me?”

As I thought, I began to remember just how many things I have done that have been tied up in being a better parent and helping others to be better parents. At 20, I volunteered at the Woodbourne Center with teen moms; later I attended MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) both for support and to be supportive. When four of my children were lead poisoned, I helped to start a grassroots organization informing parents about lead poisoning. I have led parenting classes and have worked at organizations dedicated to helping parents raise healthy children.

This exercise of thinking about what is or shows my passion has actually helped me in deciding the direction I want to take for graduate school. I now know that I want to look into public health, particularly policy that affects women and children. I plan to eventually earn my doctorate, maybe write a book or two. Regardless of any of the other things I hope to accomplish in my life, I will always consider being mom to six of the greatest children ever as my “claim to fame.”

I am still working on creating a brag sheet, how to stand out and be excited about me. I’ve come to realize that is important whether it helps me to get money for college or not. I will apply this information to be a better, more confident me. And, I will work on showing that, not just in essays but in everyday life.

June College Cash Winner Fela Langston
Fela Langston
 (pictured left) just completed her junior year at Salem College. She is pursuing a double major in music and political science. Fela also attended January’s session and wrote about what she learned:

Central Scholarship’s College Cash® event provided me with a new outlook on the search for scholarships, grants, and loans. The yearly search for scholarships has been more difficult than deciding which schools were best suited for me. It was much easier to look at colleges and universities and decide which ones fit my interests. When applying for scholarships, I always look at the requirements in terms of what I am good enough for instead of what “fits my talents.” I was so happy to hear that phrase during the event because it has a much more positive impact on the search for college cash. Finding scholarships that fit my talents will encourage me to highlight my accomplishments instead of focusing on things I lack or need to improve.

Some information I found extremely valuable was the fact that a lot of funding goes unused because a lot of students are unaware that it exists. For example, although I knew about some local funding, I knew very little about legislative scholarships before attending the College Cash® seminar. Although I will not be able to take advantage of this information during my undergraduate career because I currently attend a college out of state, I will definitely apply this information during my search for grad school funding.

Although I have taken out student loans, the College Cash® event made me realize how little I actually know about federal and private loans. For example, I didn’t know loans could be paid off through funding, nor did I realize that the government pays interest for my subsidized loans while I am a student. Another message that stood out to me was how important it is to email professionals to thank them for speaking or lecturing. Thanking professionals for their time has the potential to build my network and develop a relationship with an individual or company that could lead to an internship or job opportunity. 

Overall, Central Scholarship’s College Cash® event was extremely beneficial. Attending this seminar made me feel like I will have a more guided and productive scholarship search in the future.

Hal Cohen Endowed Scholarship Fund recipient Eric Roberts

Eric, Public Health Advocate

Posted: 05.18.16

Eric Roberts, a Hal Cohen Endowed Scholarship Fund recipient, completed his dissertation work at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Carefirst established the fund to honor the incredible legacy of Dr. Cohen, renowned health care economist. The fund helps students pursuing undergraduate or masters degrees in healthcare policy, healthcare financing or economics.  Eric defended his dissertation in the spring of last year. Titled “Essays on Markets for Primary Care Services for Medicaid Adults”, his dissertation explores how adults in the Medicaid program use health care services and the effects of the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid on the use of health care services.

Eric is currently in a post-bac fellowship at Harvard Medical School. He is awaiting several article publications, and gives credit to Hal Cohen in one of them. Central Scholarship is proud to fund students like Eric who advocate for a more fair and efficient health care system.

Chesapeake Urology Associates Scholarship recipient Mariel Otter

Mariel, Psychiatric Nurse

Posted: 04.30.16

Mariel Otter earned a Chesapeake Urology Scholarship in 2012 as she pursued a psychiatric nursing career. Since then, Mariel has volunteered in the Pediatric Psychiatric Unit at the University of Maryland (UMD) where she witnessed children shifting in and of inpatient services. As a result, she completed an evidence-based research project examining the effect of outpatient service accessibility after discharge in reducing recurrent inpatient psychiatric admissions.

Mariel is passionate about improving psychiatric care for pediatric patients. She has worked with detox and general psychiatry, as well as being a child nurse therapist conducting home and school visits on a child psychiatry mobile team. Mariel is currently pursuing a doctoral program to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner. Mariel recently wrote to us and shared, “I hope to work in the community in a program serving children and families in recovery from substance abuse.”

CS Earns Gold Status

Posted: 04.25.16

GuideStar Gold Status Participant Badge
Central Scholarship has earned Gold GuideStar Status – representing our commitment to transparency with our donors and the community. Non-profit evaluation is a vital practice that keeps organizations accountable and lets donors know that their charity of choice is trustworthy and reputable. GuideStar keeps nonprofit organizations accountable by rating charities in their system. The Gold Status signifies that quantitative information such as financial needs has been posted. Gold Status also signifies that the non-profit has shared impact through qualitative information.

At Central Scholarship, we are committed to transparency and fiduciary responsibility. To view Central Scholarship’s profile on GuideStar, please click here.

Chidiogo Nkume, whose student loan debt totals $25,977.76 hopes to be awarded a scholarship from Central Scholarship's College Cash program

April College Cash®

Posted: 04.04.16

How much student loan debt do you owe?  You are not alone. Instead of hiding from student loans, create a plan of attack. Join us for a free College Cash® seminar on how to repay student loans. Learn about loan forgiveness programs, how to prioritize payments, how to save money, and more.

Thursday, April 14, 2016 (click to register)
The University of Baltimore, Learning Commons
1415 Maryland Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21201

5:30 pm: Registration
6:00 – 8:00 pm: Seminar

Attendees will be exclusively eligible for up to $5,000 in 2016 College Cash® scholarships. The seminar is free of charge but registration is required. This free event is made possible through the generosity of our sponsors, the Hotel at Arundel Preserve and the University of Baltimore.

Chesapeake Urology Associates Scholarship recipient Stephanie Cerritos

Stephanie, Class of 2016

Posted: 03.29.16

Stephanie Cerritos is a senior at Loyola University of Maryland. As an honors student, Stephanie will graduate with her bachelor’s in biology in May of 2016. During the summer between her sophomore and junior year, Stephanie shadowed several physicians at a local hospital through the Stepping Stones program. As a native Spanish speaker, she found that she could connect with patients and help them feel comfortable during their hospital stays.

Stephanie writes, ”In the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, the physician I was shadowing allowed me to use the stethoscope to hear a baby’s soft and steady heartbeat. This small gesture reminded me just how fragile and vulnerable we are when we are sick. I want to be the helping hand that supports people during those difficult times.” Stephanie was awarded the Chesapeake Urology Associates Scholarship in 2015. This fund is set up to help students pursuing careers in the medical field. Recipients of the Chesapeake Urology Scholarship are selected based on demonstrated commitment to the medical field, financial need, and academic achievement.

Andrew, Class of 2016

Posted: 02.25.16

Andrew Lebowitz is a senior preparing to graduate with his Bachelor of Science in 2016. An enthusiasm for exercise and nutrition led him to major in Kinesiology at the University of Maryland, College Park. As a high school student at Beth Tfiloh, Andrew developed an appreciation for healthy living through playing organized sports such as lacrosse. During his college career, Andrew interned at the University of Loyola in the Strength and Conditioning Department where he learned about the responsibilities of a physical therapist and a sports medicine physician.

Andrew’s thank you letter highlights what the scholarship meant for him: “As my college career comes to a close, I want to thank you for your support. Admittedly, my family has dealt with financial hardships over that past few years. But with your generosity, I have been able to continue my pursuit of a college degree. You have recognized my determination to succeed and have believed in me, as well. It is truly an honor to be recognized for this scholarship. It is my belief that the only way I can repay you is to succeed in my academic pursuits.  I am determined to continue succeeding, and hope to make you proud with my achievements. Your continued support does not go unnoticed. In fact, it motivates me to return the gesture later on in life.”

William and Richard Shock Endowment Fund recipient Bianca Hand

Bianca, Art & Archaeology Scholar

Posted: 01.28.16

Bianca Hand graduated from The College of Wooster in 2015. Central Scholarship (CS) funded multiple years of Bianca’s studies as she completed her undergraduate degree and she was featured in a CS video last year. A Dean’s List student, Bianca earned a Bachelor of Arts in Archaeology with a minor in Art History and French. This unique combination provided a specialized background that qualifies Bianca to work in a wide range of museums. She is passionate about advocating for her field and encouraging students to pursue their passion as it pertains to Archaeology, languages, and art history. As an active member of the Archaeology Student Colloquium at her school, she set up an Annual Archaeology Day on campus.

Bianca traveled to Cyprus in the summer of 2013 to perform research on archaeological sanctuaries. She also researched Italian Renaissance and Baroque art. Over one summer, Bianca had the opportunity to focus on these two periods as a volunteer at the Walters Art Museum. A Baltimore City native, Bianca frequents all of the local museums and feels lucky to have world class institutions available in her hometown. Eventually, Bianca hopes to continue on to graduate school, expand her Art History knowledge and contribute to the museum world.