Hundreds attend two-day scholarship fair

Janeal Downs
Staff Writer

Hundreds of parents and students stood in a long line as they waited for the doors of the Commonwealth Ballroom to open in order to see the numerous scholarship opportunities held within the room.

Scholarship Sharing held its second annual scholarship fair where 10 $500 scholarships were given away and about 60 different organizations presented. Held Oct. 11 and Oct. 12  in the Commonwealth Ballrooms, the first day of the event was from 6 to 9 p.m. and the second day was from 3 to 6 p.m. Hundreds of high school students, parents and college students attended the event in order to receive information.

Scholarship Sharing founder Lorraine SantaLucia said her organization raised $4,746.63 at the event this year. 1,127 students registered for the event, in comparison to 2013, when SantaLucia said 848 students registered. Also, 38 foundations attended last year while this year there were 64.

Some organizations present at the fair include VCU Staff Senate, Virginia Pride, Dominion Power, Virginia Press Women, Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, National Society of Black Engineers and more.

SantaLucia, who was able to graduate debt-free from college, speaks at high schools and colleges offering advice to others.The first annual fair was held October 2013 as a way to connect students to foundations and scholarship opportunities. She stated the organization hopes to expand the program, increase foundation participation and expand to other areas of Virginia, possibly Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia. She said they also plan on having online Google hangouts or webinars with guest speakers in the future.

“We are committed to helping students, and hope that with the support of the community and students we can continue to grow as a leading resource for college funding connection,”  SantaLucia stated.

Krystal Amadou-Diouf represented the American Chemical Society scholarship at the fair. Amadou-Diouf called Lorraine SantaLucia a phenomenal woman and said she appreciates her way of giving back and for inviting ACS to the event. She said the National Science Foundation found that 1 to 2 percent of African Americans, Latinos and American Indians are in the chemical sciences.

“So we are looking to increase those numbers, Amadou-Diouf said. “We offer scholarships to undergraduates who are majoring in chemistry and who are planning their career in chemistry”

Students need a 3.0 or higher GPA to apply for ACS’s scholarship. A 3.2 GPA and a 500 word essay is required to apply for the $2,000 scholarships offered by The Virginia Water Environment Association which was represented by Kathy Rabalais at the fair.

Rabalais said the Virginia Water Environment Association is a professional organization which works with for engineers and anyone who may work with water, such as operators who work at water plants. Rabalais said her organization was looking for students who major in environmental sciences, chemistry, biology and environmental engineering.

Also at the event was Brenda Henderson representing the National Military Family Association. She said her focus was to talk to spouses of military workers.

“The military families go through a unique transition because their families and their loved ones are always moving and that makes them really unique when it comes to education and trying to complete it in different cities that they go to,” Henderson said.

The scholarship application includes an essay which an applicant writes about their life with the military.She said about 90% of applicants win the scholarship.

VCU junior chemistry major Jalynn Taylor-Farmer is one student who attended the first day of the event.

“They have a lot of scholarships, they seem like they really want to help, so that’s good,” Taylor-Farmer said.

Senior forensic science major Deneisha Wagner also attended the event.

“It’s a really good turn out and it’s a variety of scholarships, which is really good,” Wagner said.

Wagner said she plans on applying for a forensic science scholarship and looking into some of the others she saw offered at the fair.


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