A $100,000 gift from Wells Fargo has established a new scholarship to advance accessibility and affordability for first generation college students at Converse College. Six deserving SC natives were selected as the first Wells Fargo Scholars, and they each share the goal of being the first in their immediate family to graduate from college. The 2011 recipients are: Brittney Bouchillion of Simpsonville, SC; Caitlyn Pilot of Aiken, SC, Cymone Eldridge of Darlington, SC; Jessica Carman of Elgin, SC; Amber Ford of Piedmont, SC, and Jackey Banks of Charleston, SC.
“I think that this will allow my younger sister and my cousins to realize that they can achieve any goal that they set their mind to.”
For Caitlyn Pilot, youngest in a blended family of eight with aspirations for a career in holistic medicine, the scholarship has made attending her dream college possible.
“My parents were financially unable to give me any assistance to pay for college so I am relying completely on scholarships and loans to get me through, she said. “I was overjoyed to see that with this scholarship I was able to attend.”
Cymone Eldridge, who graduated Magna Cum Laude from Mayo High School for Math and Technology, plans to pursue a career in international retail, following her passion in the fashion industry. For her, the scholarship funds means not only being able to attend Converse, but also freedom from the financial stresses so she can focus on getting the best from her education experience.
At Ridge View High School, Jessica Carman received recognition as a member of the Science National Honor Society. She is excited by the possibilities for her future that will be opened through her Converse education. “With my chemistry degree, there are many options I can chose from, but the one career I want is to be a Forensic Scientist.”
A commitment to equal opportunity
Converse and Wells Fargo share a commitment to making higher education accessible and affordable for all students.
“We are pleased to fund these scholarships at Converse College,” said Ethan Burroughs, Market President for Wells Fargo in Spartanburg. “The Wells Fargo Foundation has designated education as one of our primary focus areas. We believe that education is one of the most important investments we can make in our country’s future. Wells Fargo is responsible for being leaders to promote the long-term economic prosperity and quality of life for everyone in our communities. If they prosper, so do we.”
Converse recognizes that a commitment to the success of these students goes beyond the financial, including both their academic and their personal well-being. Every student enjoys the personalized care of faculty thanks to Converse’s 10:1 student-teacher ratio, one of the most advantageous in the nation. In addition, the Converse Center for Student Development and Success offers extensive resources and programming to address the needs of its diverse student body, including the Trailblazer program geared for first-generation students.
Empowering women to empower others
Amber Ford, who intends to study law after Converse, aims to continue the generosity afforded to her by pursuing a career that helps others. She plans to become an advocate for victim’s rights. “I chose Converse because it is a small school and has a family like atmosphere. I love it because it fits me perfectly,” she said.
“I believe my college education will aid in my family’s future in many ways,” said Caitlyn Pilot. “It will help me to create a better life for my possible future family and to take care of my parents when they need me.”
Jackey Banks, whose ambitions include medical school and a career in hematology research, recognizes the legacy she is already creating for her younger family members. “I think that this will allow my younger sister and my cousins to realize that they can achieve any goal that they set their mind to.”
Brittney Bouchillon agrees, noting that scholarships and financial aid “made it possible to attend a college with such a high caliber and reputation that I would not have otherwise been able to achieve. I hope that my college education will inspire younger generations of my family to strive for a higher education beyond high school.”