Recipient Features


Mary Travis – Middleberg Family Scholarship Endowment

Meet Mary, a geography-sustainable development graduate student from San Diego, Calif.

Career plans/aspirations: "I plan to complete my master’s degree, then pursue my Ph.D. in geography. I want to continue my research of the impact of racial division on community and economic development, teach at the university level and contribute to community development in Mississippi."

What her scholarship has enabled her to do: "My scholarship has allowed me to remain in school and make my studies a priority by enabling me to only have to work part time. As a result of being able to stay in school, I have had the opportunity to conduct undergraduate research, successfully present my research and be a part of the Honors College. My future opportunities are directly linked to the scholarships that have enabled me to attend and graduate from Southern Miss. I am deeply appreciative of USM’s generous donors!"

The difference she desires to make: "I want to be an encouragement to my classmates and professors by caring for and respecting each of them. I also want to contribute to meeting the development needs of Mississippi by achieving the most I can academically."

 


Imani Harris – Robert C. Cook Memorial Journalism Scholarship Endowment

Meet Imani, a public relations major from Petal, Miss.

Career plans/aspirations: "My career goals include being a PR specialist for a major marketing firm and even opening a nonprofit organization that helps with the growth, development and mentorship of young, African American girls. I also desire to be a strong influencer through social media."

What her scholarship has enabled her to do: "It’s allowed me to not have to worry about finances, especially this past semester. I was able to work an on-campus job and pay more attention to my school work. I pulled off a 4.0 this fall!"

A message to the donor(s) who make her Southern Miss experience possible: "Thank you for your overwhelming support! Some students depend solely on your donations, and we are so grateful that you are willing to give so generously. It means more than you know."

 

Steven Young – Don George Graduate Scholarship in Communcation

Meet Steven, a communications studies doctoral student from Hopewell Junction, N.Y.

Career plans/aspirations: "I plan to teach communication courses nationwide, as well as internationally."

The difference he desires to make: "I hope to spread the knowledge and techniques I have learned to help others realize their potential, and as a result become better students and individuals as a whole."

A message to the donor(s) who make his Southern Miss experience possible: "Thank you to all of the donors who see potential in young scholars and invest in our futures. Without your help, many promising young students would not be able to pursue their dreams. We are very thankful."

Maggie Betsch – Interior Elements Interior Design Annual Scholarship

Meet Maggie, an interior design major from Slidell, La.

Career plans/aspirations: "I plan on pursuing a career as a commercial interior designer and possibly one day owning a firm with my fiancé, who is studying architecture. Who knows, maybe we’re the next ‘Chip and Jo’!"

The difference she desires to make: "I hope to use my gifts in interior design to serve others, whether it be through my career or on the side as a ministry to help others in difficult situations. I also hope that through my career, I can show future interior design students that dreams can become a reality with dedication and hard work."

A message to the donor(s) who make her Southern Miss experience possible: "Words cannot possibly describe my gratitude for the generous support of thoughtful donors. My scholarship has provided me the assistance needed to follow my dream of becoming an interior designer."


 



 

Stephen Vendette – Delta Industries Construction Technology Scholarship Endowment

Meet Stephen, a construction engineering technology major from Jensen Beach, Fla.

Career plans/aspirations: "My career plans are to immediately help grow the general contractor company my father and I have and eventually take full responsibility of it after he retires. My dream is to make it a family company for generations to come."

What his scholarship has enabled him to do: "This scholarship is vitally important for me to be able to continue my studies each semester. While I can't be a full-time right now because my work, this scholarship has made my part-time schedule of study something that my wife and I can work into our budget each semester without worrying too much about how to do it. I am honored to use this scholarship to continue my studies at Southern Miss."

A message to the donor(s) who make his Southern Miss experience possible: "I want to say thank you so very much for the opportunity you have given me to pursue my studies at USM. I am an online student residing in South Florida with a full-time job, so every minute of time and every dollar budgeted is precious. Your gift is greatly appreciated!"





Aliscia Burkett – Clyde Kennard Memorial Scholarship & Evelyn Gandy Political Science Scholarship Endowment

Meet Aliscia, a political science major from Hattiesburg, Miss.

The difference she desires to make: "I aspire to serve in a political position sometime in the future, where I might have even more of an ability to be a voice for the less fortunate and under-represented social groups."

Career plans/aspirations: "After I receive my bachelor's in May, I hope to continue to my education by attending Law School. My ultimate goal is to become a Human Rights Lawyer."

A message to the donor(s) who make her Southern Miss experience possible: "As I complete my education at USM, I am very thankful to be the recipient of your thoughtful gift. Because of your generous donation, I am able to focus on my academics and extracurricular involvement without burdening my family with a huge financial responsibility."


Christine Jorgensen – Katherine Brown Scholarship Endowment & American Legion Auxiliary Unit #24 Annual Scholarship

Meet Christine, a social work major from Moore, Okla.

The difference she desires to make: "I would like to impact lives in such a way that it creates in others a desire to extend humility and understanding to one another."

What her scholarship has enabled her to do: "This scholarship has afforded me the opportunity to thrive academically, and to gain valuable career-related experience through providing financial counseling to our local military families as a volunteer caseworker at Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society."

A message to the donor(s) who make her Southern Miss experience possible: "Their investment in my future was a tenfold impact because it has enabled me to serve many members of our community. It is because of people like our scholarship donors that I am able to pursue my dreams, so from the bottom of my heart, I am truly grateful."


Ja'Marvae Lard – J. Larry and Linda B. Smith Music Scholarship Endowment

Meet Ja'Marvae, a vocal performance major from Jackson, Miss.

What his scholarship has enabled him to do: "My scholarship has allowed me to focus more time on performing and becoming the ideal musician. This scholarship has helped lighten the burden of financing my education and for that, I am most grateful."

Career plans/aspirations: "It is a goal of mine to host an additional recital (aside from the two required for my degree) that focuses on African-American art songs written by composers from different musical backgrounds. I feel it is imperative and an obligation of mine, as an African-American, to help spread the wonderful music of these composers."

A message to the donor(s) who make his Southern Miss experience possible: "I would like all donors to know what a tremendous difference they make in students' lives through their contributions of time and financial support. Thank you so much!"

Brooke Bullock – Charles J. and Cynthia Z. Kershner Scholarship Endowment

Meet Brooke, a broadcast journalism major from Petal, Miss.

Career Plans/aspirations: "After graduation, I hope to work in television news and eventually pursue a career as a news anchor focusing on political, social and government issues that face the American people."

What her scholarship has enabled her to do: "My scholarship has not only allowed me to continue my education, but it has given me hope that I will be able to persist in reaching my goals and reassured me that I have an army of supporters behind me."

A message to the donor(s) who make her Southern Miss experience possible: “Your financial contribution is so much more than a scholarship. It is a reminder that no matter what is thrown at us, someone else has already walked through and persevered to achieve their dreams. Thank you for your generosity and willingness to invest in the dreams and aspirations of others. Your selflessness is appreciated more than you will ever know.”

Willie Tubbs – Robert Gene Wiggins Scholarship Endowment

Meet Willie, a doctoral student in the School of Mass Communication and Journalism from Erwinville, La.

Why he's proud to be a Golden Eagle: "Because of the comradery. I've had extensive dealings with both the School of Mass Communication and Journalism as well as Golden Eagle Athletics, Southern Miss Libraries and various other support services. At every stop, I've observed a passionate group of professors, staff and students, all shooting straight to the top."

What his scholarship has enabled him to do: "My scholarship has allowed me to travel to libraries and archives in places all over the world from Richmond, Virginia, to London and Duxford, England. Very few media historians get to do such expansive research while in graduate school. It has really helped me distinguish my research and produce better studies. Additionally, knowing that there are perfect strangers who care so much about the success of their fellow Golden Eagles is perhaps the biggest jolt to one's confidence available."

A message to the donor(s) who make his Southern Miss experience possible: "Thank you for your contributions, big and small, to students like me. You truly have no idea how helpful and meaningful your gifts are. I would not have been able to make it this far without your support."

 

Ella Embry – Ben M. Carmichael Scholarship Endowment and Gilbert and Anita Hartwig Theatre Scholarship Endowment

Meet Ella, a theatre and psychology major from Olive Branch, Miss.

Why she chose Southern Miss: "One of my main reasons for choosing Southern Miss was because I received a scholarship that made it financially possible for me to come. Another big reason for coming to USM is the amazing theatre department and all of its incredible resources."

What her scholarship has enabled her to do: "My scholarship has enabled me to take 19 credit hours for the past three semesters. It’s also allowed me to take voice lessons which have been incredible. Beforehand, I was not confident in my singing at all and now I have the confidence to audition for the upcoming musical! All in all, my scholarship has permitted me to take charge and learn as much as I possibly can while at USM."

A message to the donor(s) who make her Southern Miss experience possible: "The words 'thank you' don’t begin to cover my gratitude for your generosity. I was absolutely thrilled to learn that I had been given this support, and I’ve worked hard to make sure that all the generosity I’ve received has been put to good use. Because of your kindness, I am able to satiate my thirst for knowledge and fill my college years with wonderful memories. Thank you!"


Christina Parker – John N. Palmer Foundation Orchestral Scholarship Endowment

Meet Christina, an chemistry major from Pascagoula, Miss.

Career plans/aspirations: “I hope to graduate with a 3.8 GPA or higher and go on to attend medical school."

The difference she desires to make: “I want to help people to be the best that they can be. I want to always be there for people and help with whatever need they may have."

A message to the donor(s) who make her Southern Miss experience possible: "Thank you so much! Without donors like you, I would not be able to go to school and take the steps to help accomplish my dreams."

Taylor Monfra – Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation Scholarship

Meet Taylor, a nursing major from New Orleans, La.

Career plans/aspirations: "I will (FINALLY!) graduate with my bachelor's in nursing in May 2017 and plan to work for a while - hopefully in the neonatal intensive care unit. I then plan on going back to school to pursue a master's degree so I can become a neonatal nurse practitioner and care for my patients on a more advanced level."

The difference she desires to make: “I want to help the families of patients fully trust the teams that are caring for their loved ones and give the best care possible. I want to eradicate the fears that people have when seeking health care. I want to care for the smallest and sickest of patients."

What her scholarship has enabled her to do: "The most important thing that this scholarship has enabled me to do was to give back to my parents. They have done so much for me in my 21 years of life and paying for me to attend college was one of the best gifts they could have given me. Earning scholarships is the least I can do to help them help me. Because of these scholarships, my sister and I have both been able to attend school while my family has been able to use money to save for the future, travel, and continue to live comfortably."

Kelsey Sims – John E. Gonzales History Scholarship Endowment Recipient

Meet Kelsey, a history major from Ridgeland, Miss.

Why she's proud to be a Golden Eagle: "I'm able to be part of a larger community that makes a difference in people's lives and in our surrounding community.”

The difference she desires to make at USM: “I hope to promote more interest in the History Department at USM, as well as inspire others to give back to USM and to those who have given much to them.”

A message to the donor(s) who make her Southern Miss experience possible: “I am so grateful. I would not be able to experience USM and all of the wonderful opportunities here if it were not for those who generously support our school.”



Shelby Reeves – Larry and Elizabeth Payne Education and Psychology Scholarship Recipient

Meet Shelby, a psychology major from Junction City, Kan.

Why she's proud to be a Golden Eagle: "Southern Miss has supported me in all my academic endeavors and helped me to develop into the person I am today."

What her scholarship has enabled her to do: "My scholarship has allowed me to overcome one less hurdle in my college experience and become closer to my dreams after college. Without donors, I wouldn’t have this blessed experience of being a Golden Eagle. I am so grateful. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!"

The difference she desires to make: “I want people to experience absolute happiness and hope to bring happiness to others through a career as a clinical psychologist.”

Wilson Williams – Schillig-Baird Scholarship Endowment Recipient

Meet Wilson, an international studies major from Pearl, Miss.

Career plans/aspirations: "I plan to graduate and commission as an active duty second lieutenant in the Army through USM's Army ROTC."

A message to the donor(s) who make his Southern Miss experience possible: “You made it possible for me to step outside my comfort zone and experience college to the fullest without having to worry about financial burdens. This scholarship has allowed me to invest in personal and professional development opportunities, such as joining a fraternity and studying abroad in London through the British Studies Program. For all of those opportunities, thank you."

What his scholarship has enabled him to do: "In short, it has allowed me to focus on my studies and appreciate them, while broadening my base of knowledge rather than simply slogging through courses. Thanks to Southern Miss donors, I really have been able to live and love the college experience."

Christian Ratcliff – 1910 Annual Scholarship Recipient

Meet Christian, a speech pathology major from Batesville, Miss.

Why she is proud to be a Golden Eagle: “Golden Eagles don’t just stick to the easy, we don’t only show up when it is convenient. We fight through the difficult times and encourage those around us to never give up. Golden Eagles build each other up and have a strong desire to leave Southern Miss better than they found it.”

The difference she desires to make: “If I can make a difference in one person’s life and inspire them to do the same for another, I will be happy. Everyone believes that to make a difference you have to do something grand or have a movement that changes the nation, but you don’t. It only takes one moment and one person to make a difference.”

A message to the donor(s) who make her Southern Miss experience possible: “Thank you for believing in me before you even knew my name. The decision to make a donation never comes lightly, but you did it anyway. I truly could not have done it without you, and I hope that I can make you proud."

 

Ashley Thames – Joseph and Barbara Niezgoda Veterans - Center for Military Veterans, Service Members and Families Scholarship Recipient

Meet Ashley, a nursing major from Jackson, Miss.

The difference she desires to make: “I would like to afford other students the same opportunity I have been given by one day becoming a donor to the USM Foundation. I know first-hand the burden of attending school full-time while working to pay for tuition. I would like to help future students with their financial burdens so they can focus more on achieving their educational goals with an ease of mind.”

What her scholarship has enabled her to do: "The Joseph and Barbara Niezgoda Veterans Scholarship is a huge blessing to me. My scholarship empowers me to approach my education with confidence. Because of it, I can focus on being a student and think ahead about graduate school and career plans without fearing student debt.”

A message to the donor(s) who make her Southern Miss experience possible: “I was thrilled to learn of my selection for this honor and am deeply appreciative of your support. I want to express my sincere gratitude to you for making this scholarship possible. The financial assistance you provided will be of great help to me in paying my educational expenses and accomplishing my goal of becoming a nurse. Thank you for your generosity and support!”

Pepper Ginder – Center for Military Veterans, Service Members and Families Development Fund Recipient and Henry “Herbert” Johnston Veterans Scholarship Endowment Recipient

Meet Pepper, a nursing major from Denver, Colo.

The difference she desires to make: “I would like to teach others that no matter how small your voice is or how insignificant you may think you are, you can always make a difference. Never let anyone tell you that something cannot be done, never forget to trust yourself, love yourself and listen to your intuition. Differences can be made by being open to the differences in others and embracing them! Learn from others and be the positive change the world needs!”

What her scholarship has enabled her to do: "My scholarship has allowed me to be with my family more. It has also enabled me to focus on my studies without having to worry about funding or other expenses that would set my family back. Scholarship support has lifted a weight from my shoulders! My kids and husband and I were recently able to spend a few days on vacation together for the first time ever because the financial burden of my education wasn't holding us back. It is the blessing that keeps giving!"

A message to the donor(s) who make her Southern Miss experience possible: “I cannot put into mere words how thankful and truly grateful I am to be the recipient of a Foundation scholarship! I will forever be grateful and indebted to the kindness and generosity of the donors that made this happen. I have prayed so long and so very hard for someone to help me financially so that I can be successful and afford my school bills, and then this has happened. It is tremendous. I one day hope and plan to be able to help someone in the same way that I have been helped, and cannot thank all of the donors enough for helping me and people like me."

Alise Fairley – Cynthia E. Gamble Scholarship Endowment

Meet Alise, an athletic training major from Hattiesburg, Miss.

Why she chose Southern Miss: “I chose USM because I grew up going to the athletic events here, and I fell in love with the Southern Miss atmosphere. Plus, both of my parents went here.”

The difference she desires to make: “I would just like to be the person who puts a smile on the faces of all the people I encounter and touch their lives in a special way.”

A message to the donor(s) who make her Southern Miss experience possible: “Thank you for the opportunity to be selected as a Luckyday Scholar as well as a recipient of the Cynthia E. Gamble Scholarship. These opportunities have been a great help toward me receiving an education here and have given me the opportunity to continue to pursue my dreams.”


Melissa David – Delta Delta Delta Endowment Recipient

Meet Melissa, a public relations major from Saucier, Miss.

Why she chose Southern Miss: “I chose Southern Miss because it is a large university with a small campus feel. I love that I am not just a number here. When I walk across campus, I always see a friendly face.”

The difference she desires to make: “I would love to make a difference by helping other students see that their Southern Miss experience is what they make it. I want more students to become involved and fall in love with our wonderful school.”

A message to the donor(s) who make her Southern Miss experience possible: “Thank you for making such a large impact on my Southern Miss journey. Because of you, I am able to focus more on my school work and give back to Southern Miss through my involvement. I don’t have to stress about how I will be able to pay for tuition or books. For that, I cannot thank you enough!”

Cassidy Darbonne – Frederick E. Tatum, M.D. Nursing Scholarship Endowment Recipient

Meet Cassidy, a nursing major from Grenada, Miss.

Career plans and aspirations: “I aspire to travel the world as a nurse and serve those in need. Eventually, I hope to further my education at Southern Miss."

The difference she desires to make: “Once a Southern Miss alum, I plan to reach out and support the future students of the school. I hope to be an example of the extraordinary education that students gain from USM. In the world, I hope to save the lives of many and help others reach their full potential in health.”

A message to the donor(s) who make her Southern Miss experience possible: “The high cost of attending college is discouraging; however, with your help, I am able to continue my education and fulfill my dream of becoming a nurse. It has lifted a burden off of my parents and me, and I've been able to purchase the necessities required to be successful in the nursing program. Thank you for your unconditional generosity!”

 



Jack Hoda – South Central Mississippi Alumni Chapter Scholarship Recipient

Meet Jack, an English licensure major from Petal, Miss.

Why he is proud to be a Golden Eagle: “Southern Miss has provided me with a community to pour my gifts and talents into as I gain just as much in return.”

The difference he desires to make: “I want to use my resources to inspire others to use theirs. I want to help support the millions of people in the world with less opportunities, helping them find a path to success.”

A message to the donor(s) who make his Southern Miss experience possible: “Thank you so much for investing not only in my future, but in the futures of so many other students as well. You have helped make our education possible, and I am eternally grateful.”

 


  

LaQunana Williams Cistrunk – Beulah Elizabeth Roberts Compton Scholarship Recipient

Meet LaQunana, a graduate student in social work from Gary, Ind.

What her scholarship has enabled her to do: "My scholarship enabled me to accomplish a goal that I've dreamed about all of my life. I was able to complete the MSW program and graduate with a 3.8 GPA on May 13, 2016!"

Career plans/aspirations: "I plan to become a LMSW and further my license to a LCSW. I want to create a grant for the homeless population. I also want to serve as an example for young people who lived in the foster system like I did. I want to show them that the circumstances that they're born with don’t have to shape their future - that success is possible.”

A message to the donor(s) who make her Southern Miss experience possible: “If it weren’t for the Beulah Elizabeth Roberts Compton Scholarship, I would not have been able to finish my education. I’m so thankful for those who have invested in USM because they’re making dreams come true for less fortunate students like me.”


Mary Blair Ward – Sid and Joni Gonsoulin Leadership Scholarship Endowment Recipient, Coca-Cola Recreational Sports Student Leadership Scholarship Term Endowment Recipient and Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation Scholarship Recipient

Meet Mary, a nursing major from Columbus, Miss.

Why she chose Southern Miss: “I chose USM because of the instant homey feeling I got when I stepped onto campus for my first tour. I immediately felt as though this was where I was supposed to be. Ironically enough, when I returned home after my visit to Hattiesburg and USM, my Luckyday Scholarship acceptance letter was in my mailbox waiting for me. It was then that I knew it was meant to be.”

The difference she desires to make: “Simply put, I want to help people. In my time as a student at Southern Miss, especially in nursing school, I’ve learned that I have a passion for serving in any capacity. I have been served so much by this University through the experiences it has provided me and the things it has taught me, including the value of giving back. Dr. Joe Paul says it best; it is my true goal in life to leave everything better than it was when I found it.”

A message to the donor(s) who make her Southern Miss experience possible: “No words will ever be able to convey the thanks that all of the Foundation donors deserve! Thank you for being so generous and willing to make such a positive impact on the lives of students that you have never even met. Your generosity does not go unnoticed or unappreciated! Thank you so much!”

Emily Matherne – Dorothy and Lawrence Cunningham Endowment Recipient

Meet Emily, an instrumental music education major from Raceland, La.

Why she chose Southern Miss: "I chose to attend USM because of the School of Music's reputation in the south. I first visited USM's campus as an 8th grader for the honor band, and I fell in love with it immediately; I knew even then that I wanted to become a Golden Eagle."

Career plans/aspirations: "I will be graduating from USM this coming spring. Following that, I plan to get my master's in Music Performance and become either an orchestra performer or an elementary music teacher."

The difference he desires to make: “I hope to spend my life leading a good example for other musicians and students and to stress the importance of the arts in public schools."



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

Rose Lau – Charles and Anita Price Endowed Scholarship Recipient

Meet Rose, an art major from Meridian, Miss.

Why she chose Southern Miss: “The University has an accredited art and design program with knowledgeable and reputable professors. USM also holds strong tradition and excellence in its education and spirit.”

The difference she desires to make: “The University of Southern Mississippi may be considered a small school, but its quality in student body surpasses expectation. I would like to make a difference by sharing my art and experiences with others so they can have a new perspective."

A message to the donor(s) who make her Southern Miss experience possible: "Money is hard to come by as a college student, but thankfully, Southern Miss has gracious donors who put education as one of their top priorities. I can’t say thank you enough. My scholarship has helped me with school related expenses and enabled me to focus on my education.”

John Davenport – J. Lloyd Milam Presidential Scholarship Recipient

Meet John, a kinesiology major from Lake Charles, La.

Why he chose Southern Miss: “Scholarship support was a driving force behind my decision to attend USM; if I had not been awarded the Presidential Scholarship, I would not be where I am today. Southern Miss offers such a warm and friendly environment where it is impossible to walk across campus and not run into a friend.”

The difference he desires to make: “I want to inspire people to laugh and have fun with life, especially through exercise. I love being able to use fitness as a tool to improve someone's mood or life.”

A message to the donor(s) who make his Southern Miss experience possible: “Thank you for being the reason that I chose USM for my undergraduate career. Had I not chosen Southern Miss, I would have missed out on priceless friendships and life-changing educational experiences.”