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CS awards over $1 mil to 2014 scholars

CS awards over $1 mil to 2014 scholars

Posted: 08.12.14

Central Scholarship recipients at the 2014 Student Awards Ceremony
Congratulations to this year’s scholarship recipients!  We celebrated our new scholars with a packed house reception at the Vollmer Visitor Center inside of the Cylburn Arboretum.  Click here to see a list of all 2014 scholarship recipients.

Our student speaker this year, Shaquil Timmons, shared his story of growing up around friends and adults who did not expect him to be successful because of his background.  Nonetheless, he graduated from Woodlawn High School, and then Stevenson University this past spring and launched an entertainment company.  We were also thrilled that Senator Barbara Mikulski delivered a letter to be read at the awards ceremony congratulating Central Scholarship students.  She writes, “Congratulations to all of this evening’s scholarship winners.  You have prevailed over many other candidates for this award and have worked long and hard to earn this coveted distinction.  What a stunning affirmation to your commitment to academic excellence and motivation to succeed.  Enjoy your place in the spotlight.  I know your family and friends are very proud of you and so am I.”

We also heard keynote Danielle DiFerdinando speak about heading a successful handbag company at the young age of twenty seven.  Danielle spoke of her rise from Ellicott City, Maryland to New York City where she is currently running Danielle Nicole, a company that has received national attention from celebrities like Rachel Zoe and Oprah.  At the conclusion of the ceremony, we surprised Brett Libowitz with the grand prize College Cash scholarship sponsored by Howard County General Hospital.  Brett wrote an exemplary essay about what he learned from our College Cash seminar in January.

We are thrilled to award scholarships to students in our 90th year of service to the community.  We thank our students for being hardworking achievers and we thank our loyal donors for their continued generous support.

Our Second 2014 College Cash Winner Is…

Posted: 06.20.14

College Cash Scholarship recipient Jyna Maeng
Jyna Maeng!  Jyna attended our Howard County College Cash session in the winter.  College Cash is a free educational program that Central Scholarship offers to students all over Maryland.  We are currently planning a fall session in October all about Student Loan Repayment.  Stay tuned and check this page for details.  Jyna is a junior at the University of Maryland, College Park, where she studies Computer Science.  Congratulations, Jyna!  Read her winning essay below:

“Welcome to College Cash 101, we are so excited that you have decided to join us today. I have a question for you all, how many of you are undergraduates?” Do I raise my hand? I do not know. The seminar moved on, but I did not. My hand laid limp on my thigh, and I wondered when I should have raised it.

I have come to struggle with these types of questions of what category I fall under. You see, I am a post-baccalaureate student, in other words, a second bachelor’s student. Seven months ago, I was on my merry way down the only path I ever knew, accepted and ready to enter a Communications Master’s program at Georgetown University, when I spotted a robot. This robot’s name was Gilbert and Gilbert was visiting my city with an annual Science Conference open to the public. There, I met people with job titles I have never heard of before, telling me how they programmed Gilbert to find his way out of a maze, which was absolutely remarkable! You see, humans can walk through a maze and when they run into a dead end, they intuitively know to turn around and try a different direction, and not return to the dead end. Robots (and computers) don’t intuitively know anything, so the amazing thing about Gilbert was it could take in new information like finding a dead end, and learn not to go there again, without someone manually moving it.

Gilbert was not born with a deductive mind, it was made for him. These people were playing God, creating life (robotic life), giving inanimate objects the ability to learn from their environment and adapt, like living things. It was eye opening and eventually; life changing. I asked what field they were working in, they replied, ‘Computer Science.’ When I was a new college student I never even heard, let alone, considered Computer Science as something I could have pursued. I had only taken one math course in my entire college career. I believed that I was not a “math person” and that it would have been too hard for me to pursue anything related to it, but truthfully, I was scared. Scared that I might fail and I was not that intelligent. So, I chose a safe major, where I was guaranteed to graduate.

Then, I found myself face to screen with Gilbert and a realization just echoed in my ribs; this is where I should be. I knew I had to get a degree in Computer Science, but everyone I happened to ask about the major either said it was ‘extremely difficult’ or actually dropped out of the major and the fear clawed its way in again. I began to wonder, ‘What if I just was not one of those naturally gifted “computer people”?’ So, what? If I am turn out to be untalented, can I not learn? Can I still not pursue it through hard work rather than through an inherit gift? At the core, I wanted to learn Computer Science and my desire puffed itself up against the looming fear.

After weeks of deliberation, I decided to forgo my Master’s program and become a post-baccalaureate student. Some of my colleagues questioned why I would make such a drastic change. They thought that becoming an undergraduate was a step backward and I would have to pay for college on my own this time.

I understand the rarity of a second bachelor student with such a drastic change in career choice, but I chose this uphill battle because I asked, ‘why bother chasing a dream that isn’t yours?’ I wanted to run after my own. And so, I sprinted. Having little math background, I taught myself Pre-calculus to test out of the college class and pushed through Calculus I and II in half a year while teaching myself Java (programming language) to get ahead of my classes and career. And while I was running, gasping for air, I realized how far I could go if I willed my legs to just keep stepping.

And when I stepped into the College Cash 101 seminar, I thought the most valuable knowledge it would give me would be a list of available scholarships in my county, but it was not knowledge at all that affected me the most, it was advice. When Angela and Jen, went over scholarship essay tips, they said to be human in our essays. Be human and advocate for yourself. I have been trying to hide that I am a second bachelor’s student in every essay, every conversation, because I felt it would somehow hurt my chances of being chosen for scholarships and grants, but now I feel I can write essays truer to my situation and dreams rather than what I think I have to become for some of these scholarship essays. I will learn how to better advocate for myself, and use my unique perspective in my essays to better my chances at future scholarships.

I will also look for scholarships particular to students pursuing a second bachelor’s or something geared towards my major. As Jen and Angela said, we should be more specific and local in our scholarship searches to increase our chances of being selected.

Jen told us that when writing an essay, you should tell a story, rather than list your accomplishments. This is my story, and this seminar helped me begin to write my future chapters the right way.

April’s Scholar of the Month

Posted: 04.30.14

Stanley L. and Dorothy Lobe Cahn Scholarship recipient Olumuyiwa Onibatedo holds his young sister

Olumuyiwa Onibatedo received the Stanley L. and Dorothy Lobe Cahn Scholarship last year.  He is a junior studying biology at Towson University.  Born in Nigeria, his decision to pursue a medical career resulted from his experiences as a child.  He recalls a deep curiosity when he visited the doctor in Nigeria and would follow the professionals around asking why and how they diagnosed their patients.  Today, he is a straight-A student despite financial difficulties.  He helps support his family in a single-mother household.  His father left abruptly several years ago so Olumuyiwa took a financial role in the family.  Olumuyiwa works and supports his younger siblings including his two-year old sister (pictured).  He writes, “I was brought up to see every struggle as a blessing in disguise, to know that everything happens for a reason, and to use my struggles as motivation for being the best I could be.”

Eli, Scholar of the Month

Posted: 10.30.13

Jerome G. and Annette S. Zimmerman Foundation Fund recipient Eli Werdesheim

A senior at Johns Hopkins University studying Business and Finance, Eli Werdesheim is focused on his goal to pursue a career in law. His unique life experiences have prepared him for this endeavor.  He received an interest-free loan from the Jerome G. and Annette S. Zimmerman Foundation Fund at Central Scholarship.

As a young man of only sixteen, Eli left his family and relocated to Israel. For the first time he was truly independent and had to create a life for himself. Times were indeed rough and on occasion Eli found himself homeless and ever grateful for the kindness of strangers. On this journey, Eli enlisted in the Israeli Special Forces. He served as a paratrooper and earned acceptance into one of Israel’s most elite counter-terrorism units. It was here he learned leadership and determination. Although he has experienced these successes, Eli has never forgotten the challenge of looking for work as an uneducated young man.

Eli is proud to be in his final year of undergraduate studies and continues to value education. Eli is confident that he will return Central Scholarship’s generosity tenfold by providing scholarships for ambitious students who cannot afford college.

2013 Student Awards

Posted: 09.24.13

James Lewis (left) and Joe Mechlinski (right) at the 2013 Student Awards Ceremony

It’s been a busy summer at Central Scholarship.  We awarded over $1 million in need-based scholarships.  Two hundred students and donors gathered at the Cylburn Arboretum in July to connect and celebrate a new season of scholarships.  We were honored to have Joe Mechlinski speak to the crowd about his success.  A Baltimore native, Mechlinski (pictured on the right) overcame many obstacles in his life in order to become an author and CEO of Entrequest.  You can learn more about Joe, his business, and his New York Times bestselling book here.  James Lewis (pictured on the left) also spoke about how receiving numerous scholarships from CS helped him earn his degrees and begin his career.  We welcomed James Lewis onto our Board of Directors in September — continuing many of our scholarship recipients’ legacies of giving back after graduation.  Another former scholarship recipient, Katlin Meissinger, spoke about graduating from the University of Maryland and the impact she hopes to make in the world.

College Cash Scholarship Winners, Kadeem Khan (left) and Ijeoma Uzohu (right) at the 2013 Student Awards CeremonyWe surprised two students — Ijeoma Uzohu and Kadeem Khan — with College Cash scholarships.  Ijeoma and Kadeem participated in our College Cash financial literacy series and wrote essays identifying ways that financial literacy would help them in the future and offering up ideas for future College Cash seminars.   At our College Cash seminar, Deanne Loonin spoke about students’ right to log into the NSLDS website and check their loan types and amounts.  Ijeoma writes, “I attended four different colleges and have taken out different school loans.  Prior to this seminar, I was not sure of the kind of loans I had.  After the seminar, I logged onto the website and was able to figure out the types of loans I have and now I am working on consolidating my loans.  One might think that students should be aware of this information but in reality, many students are uninformed.”Central Scholarship recipients at the 2013 Student Awards Ceremony

Congratulations to all of the 2013 scholarship recipients!  Our students’ stories continue to inspire us.  We are so thankful to award over $1 million in scholarships to yet another deserving group of hard-working students.  It is because of the generous donations we receive from our donors that we are able to do the work that we do.  Thank you!


Two More College Cash Scholarship Winners

Posted: 07.02.13

Meet two more College Cash Scholarship winners, John Himes and Atara Pear. At our College Cash seminar on June 5th, students gathered at Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center to hear Deanne Loonin speak to the audience about student loan repayment.  Deanne is a national expert on the topic and attendees received copies of her book, Guide to Surviving Debt.  Students who attended were eligible to apply for a College Cash scholarship by writing about the seminar.  The final two grand College Cash scholarship winners will be announced at Central Scholarship’s Annual Student Awards Ceremony on July 18th.

Atara’s winning essay:College Cash Scholarship winner Atara Pear

I always find it amazing that a single, simple event can change a person’s entire state of mind. It was an ordinary day when I received my acceptance letter to Loyola University’s speech language pathology graduate program this winter; I was in a pretty neutral state of mind. Then my father showed me the letter. “Open it,” my family urged. I felt a rush of anticipation mixed unnervingly with fear as tore open the envelope, extracted the letter folded inside, and peaked nervously at the top line.

“I’m in! I’m in!” I shouted, drunk with the excitement and relief that accompanied my acceptance into the highly competitive program. We danced around the kitchen together, laughing and celebrating the good news. Then I sat down and read the rest of the letter. It described some of the details about the program and outlined my next steps. That was all fine; the heady feeling was still there. Then I got to the part about tuition, and that was the point that I went from a state of giddy joy to one of stomach-churning worry. Fifty thousand dollars? How on earth was I going to afford that?!

I knew that I would have to take out student loans, and the prospect of accruing that amount of debt by the time I was twenty-two years old was supremely unsettling to me. “Consider it an investment in your future,” my parents consoled me, “we took out loans for our schooling and we did just fine.” Still, a thousand doubts nagged at me. What if I could not pay it off? How would I know which type of loan to apply for; there seemed to be so many options! How much extra would I need to pay in interest alone? Over time, I became more comfortable with the idea of taking out loans, but there were still many questions that I had about loan options and repayment. Therefore, I was extremely relieved and excited when Central Scholarship Bureau sent me the information about a College Cash seminar that would deal with this topic specifically.

The seminar proved to be extremely informative and helpful; the keynote speaker, Ms. Deanne Loonin, was clearly an expert in the field of student loan debt. Her presentation addressed many of my questions as she spoke about the different types of student loans, various options of payment plans, and factors to take into consideration when deciding what type of loan provider to borrow from. One of the points that made the strongest impression on me was the seriousness of taking federal student loans; as Ms. Loonin said, “government student loans are easy to take but really difficult to get out of.” She spoke about the importance of staying on top of student loan repayment, as becoming delinquent or default on a student loan can lead to serious and lasting consequences, and the government can pursue loan borrowers for their entire lives. One example that Ms. Loonin gave was of an elderly client that she worked with that was in default for his student loans that he had taken more than thirty years before, and was not receiving the same amount of social security benefits that he would have been eligible to had the government not deducted his loan amounts from it.

I was amazed at the degree of power the government has in collecting loan repayments, and the message that I took for myself was that in the future, once I finish school, I will make it one of my top priorities to repay my loans in a timely manner. I want to make sure that I do not fall into the 30% of student loan borrowers who are delinquent on their loans! I plan on making responsible financial decisions and working as hard as I need to in order to repay my loans.

The College Cash seminar helped clarify many key points about student loan repayment, and I felt reassured and more confident about taking out a loan as I exited the session. However, some topics that I would like to have heard more about included the actual process of taking out loans and choosing an appropriate payment plan. These topics were touched upon, but it would have been helpful to me if they had been elaborated upon more thoroughly. Still, all of the information that was offered was useful and important.

Thank you, Central Scholarship Bureau, for arranging this excellent seminar. I plan on utilizing the tools that I gained from it by becoming a responsible loan borrower. Thank you for addressing this topic, as it has allowed me to become more confident about my plan of taking loans to go to graduate school so that I can pursue my goal of becoming a speech language pathologist.

John’s winning essay:John Himes

From the two speakers at the Central Scholarship event, I was raised to a greater level of awareness about the dangers of debt, especially student loans. While I understand that I will need to borrow money in order to finance my education, and I am willing to accept the responsibility that goes along with it, my goal is to be just that: responsible. One of the most impactful messages from the seminar was the degree to which the federal government can pursue borrowers. Whether it be by damaging my credit score, administrative wage garnishment, or a tax refund offset, I want to be sure in my future that I never go into default on a loan. However, by borrowing responsibly, working and saving money for college, and applying for scholarships, my goal is to graduate with a very manageable amount of debt.

Once I do start repaying my loans six months after graduation, I will be sure to employ another piece of advice I picked up at the Central Scholarship meeting: don’t ignore the envelope! Even if I’m not wealthy in my future, I understand that with the PAYE system, my monthly repayment schedule will be adjusted to my income, and thus there is absolutely no reason to go into default. Furthermore, even if a situation arises in which I’m unable to meet a payment deadlines, I am now aware of the various options available to me, such as deferments. Whether I re-enroll in school, am unemployed, or am simply facing economic hardship, by using the tools available to me I may be able to avoid a circumstance that would be economically crippling. Obviously, I aspire to never need to fall back on deferment, or other options like consolidation and rehabilitation, yet knowing that these options are available, just in case, gives me peace of mind.

Lastly, I am now aware of the vast wealth of online resources that are available to me, such as the SLBA site. It is comforting to know that if I get confused and need to go to the experts, there will be people who are willing to help me. I understand the necessity of financial stability in the my future and that a college education is the means by which I will reach it. With that in mind, I am determined not to let my decision to enroll in college backfire; I know that I have before me all the resources necessary to prevent default. I’m about to enter an entirely unknown and mysterious part of my life, and I don’t know what to expect; I’ve never been in serious debt before in my life. Regardless, now that I have been educated by the Central Scholarship Bureau and the NCLC speaker, I have a greater amount of confidence that I will be able to manage my student loans and remain financially stable.

Grant Recipient Cited in Obama’s Morehouse Address

Posted: 05.20.13

Central Scholarship tuition support recipient and Morehouse College graduate Leland Shelton
May 20, 2013, Baltimore MD – A recipient of tuition support from Central Scholarship,  Baltimore’s Leland Shelton, graduated from Morehouse College Sunday with Phi Beta Kappa honors and is about to begin studies at Harvard School of Law.  In this video, Leland talks about the impact Central Scholarship had on his educational dreams.

In a commencement address to Morehouse graduates, President Obama cited the difficulties of young black men growing up and singled out the accomplishments of  Leland Shelton, whose childhood included separation from his mother at the age of 4 and multiple years in foster care.  The President encouraged graduates “to extend a hand to others less privileged” and reflected on his own challenging journey as a young man with an absent father who benefitted from the support of others.  Through the generosity of the Stanley and Evelyn Wagner Scholarship Fund, Central Scholarship provided $40,000 to support Leland throughout his four-year program at Morehouse.

“We’re incredibly proud of Leland,” said CS President Jan Wagner, “and all of our board and staff celebrate his achievements.  Leland is an amazing young man and represents all that is possible for youth in Baltimore.”

Leland, who was president of his class at City College, served as president of the NAACP Chapter on campus, and was active as a National Advocate for Children through the National Foster Care Center.

Since 1924, Central Scholarship has provided financial aid to low-income Maryland students who may receive up to $10,000 a year for undergraduate and professional degrees as well as career training programs.  In recent years, CS has committed over $1 million annually.

For more information about Central Scholarship support of low-income students, and its role in Leland’s journey from Baltimore to Harvard, contact Jan Wagner, CS President, at [email protected] at  410-415-5558.

“Central Scholarship Applauds Grant Recipient Cited in Obama’s Address to Morehouse Graduates”

For Immediate Use
Contact: Jan Wagner

We’ve Moved!

Posted: 03.21.13

Central Scholarship board conference room

We are excited to announce that Central Scholarship moved to our new offices this month. We are now located at 6 Park Center Court, Suite 211, Owings Mills, MD.  We’re thrilled to have a larger space to house student interviews and show presentations.  Students who take public transportation to our office may take the metro to Pikesville or Owings Mills.  As we help more students, Central Scholarship is growing to support students through traditional undergraduate/graduate scholarships as well as our career and trade school scholarships.

We are in the midst of our application season with under two weeks to go until the April 1st deadline for degree-seeking students.  Almost 4,000 students have already applied.  We have rolling admission for our career and trade school programs and students may apply here.  Students and parents may call 1.855.276.0239 for more information about the application process.

1 in 10 Chance of Winning Up To $10,000 Scholarship

Posted: 03.04.13

Central Scholarship logo

Even though they were busy with classes, work, and school — they applied for local scholarships.  With only ONE MONTH until the April 1st deadline, wouldn’t you like to know why local scholarships like ours are worth your time and energy?

Because we’re local, our pool of applicants is smaller – which means it’s easier for you to apply and win.

We do not require any letters of recommendation and providing your resume is optional. You only need THREE ITEMS to submit your General application!

1. One paragraph about your career/college goals
2. One paragraph about a challenge you overcame
3. Your Student Aid Report

Winning is easier too. For a national scholarship (such as the Coca-Cola Scholars) your chance of winning is about .025%. But if you apply with us? Closer to 10%.

Applying with Central Scholarship gives you a 1 in 10 chance of winning up to $10,000.

Central Scholarship has been providing financial aid to Maryland students for almost 90 years, so we know where you’re coming from. We’re familiar with your neighborhood and your school, and we understand the challenges you face as you pursue your education.

Plus, all types of students are eligible for our awards–from high school seniors planning to go to college for the first time, to undergraduate and graduate students,  to students pursuing professional degrees in fields like social work, medicine, or law, to students seeking non-degree career or technology training. We have nearly 40 different scholarship programs, so chances are, you can find a Central Scholarship award that’s right for you. 

Click here to read student testimonials at GREAT NONPROFITS!

Central Scholarship’s April 1st deadline is only ONE MONTH AWAY!   Apply now.

Call: 1-855-276-0239
Email: [email protected]

College Cash Wrap Up

Posted: 02.11.13

Joseph Lorick, keynote speaker for 2013 College Cash 101 Seminar

This year’s College Cash 101 was the best received seminar yet.  It was our fourth year in a row offering the service to students in Maryland.  Students and parents attended free sessions in Baltimore and Columbia and learned about the scholarship search, money management, and student loans.  We are grateful to our generous sponsors — BB&T, Howard County General Hospital, and SECU, for their support.

Our keynote speaker, Joseph Lorick, opened the session with a lively discussion about the importance of thinking about one’s future before signing on the dotted line.  Joseph wrote Did Everything But Think (D.E.B.T) — a guide to avoiding debt traps while on the path to financial freedom.  Joseph graduated from the 3rd oldest high school in the country, Baltimore City College, in 1999.  He went on to earn his bachelors in business administration from Bowie State University.  As a senior, Joseph began his career in banking and has never stopped.  He has worked in Collections, Credit, Mortgage, Consumer Loans, Consumer Checking, Small Business Checking and Strategies for ten years.  During this time, he has spoken with thousands of customers and gained extensive knowledge about the financial habits of American citizens.Students at the 2013 College Cash 101 Seminar

Our program staff (Roberta Goldman, Angela Harrison, and Jennifer Bauer) shared tips on how to stand out in the application pool and advised the audience about different types of student loans.  We had 100 students in attendance at the University of Baltimore College Cash session, and 120 attending the Columbia session at Howard County General Hospital.  Those who attended are eligible for one of three College Cash 101 Scholarships.  We are receiving applications for this scholarship now and results will be announced in May, June, and July via our twitter and facebook pages.  The first place College Cash 101 scholarship for $1,250 will be announced and awarded at Central Scholarship’s Annual Student Awards Ceremony in July.