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UNCF Tour Students

The United Negro College Fund Makes Itself Known at Shaw on HBCU Tour

As a United Negro College Fund scholarship recipient, Shaw University sophomore Zain Abid knows firsthand how important funding from the philanthropic organization can be for college students on HBCU campuses. That's why, as a Resident Assistant in Shaw’s Fleming Kee Living and Learning Center, Abid, 19, has made it his mission to post UNCF fliers and plan information sessions in the honors dorm to be sure other students have access to tap into UNCF's resources. "This is the best opportunity for students at HBCUs," said Abid, who received a $5,000 scholarship from the Foot Locker Foundation, Inc., through UNCF. "The money is right there, but we have to apply for it."

Abid got some help recently when the UNCF HBCU Tour stopped at Shaw, giving students a day of face-to-face access to UNCF representative, Marques Reed, the Washington, DC-based organization’s Program Coordinator for Scholarships and Programs. Reed is among three UNCF representatives spending several months this year visiting each of its 37 member institutions, including Shaw. The goal: Boost the number of students who receive scholarships and internships by boosting the number of students who start – and actually complete – the applications.

"They (UNCF) are thirsty to give you money, but you're not thirsty enough to apply,” Reed told a group of about 40 UNCF scholarship and internship recipients, other internship recipients, and student organization leaders during a 90-minute Lunch and Learn session. Not only did Reed outline various scholarship and internship opportunities during the roundtable, he also answered questions and offered solutions, one-on-one. “The money is there,” he repeatedly told the students. "Y'all are just leaving it on the table."

Shaw UNCF Liaison Doris Bullock said UNCF’s visit during Shaw’s UNCF Scholarship and Internship Day was time well spent, providing not only crucial scholarship and internship information to encourage student success, but also because students got that information in an "up close and personal environment" intended for greater impact. Several Shaw students also predict it will make a difference in student understanding and confidence in seeking UNCF funding.

"It's a blessing and amazing they’d come out to show us they want students to dip into what they have to offer,” said Briona May, a senior serving as Miss Shaw for the 2017-18 academic year. “I hope students actually take the information and use it,” added May, who is attending Shaw on a full scholarship. "There are big opportunities for students to get money for school, and that's a big need in today's society."

UNCF’s day at Shaw began in the Thomas J. Boyd Chapel with a morning session for about 180 high school students from five Wake County schools and the Word of God Christian Academy. The focus: College readiness and an introduction to UNCF as a resource for scholarships and internships once in college.

"I thought this would be helpful, and introduce me to a new world; new ideas about how I want to grasp my future,” said Kevin Allen, 16, a junior at Enloe High School still contemplating whether he’ll choose college or another path after high school graduation. “Being here has really been very helpful.”

Following a session with UNCF’s Reed, the high school students toured the Shaw campus. Afterwards, Brenda Elliott, Wake County’s Assistant Superintendent of Student Support Services, chatted with the students about going to college and seeking funds to pay for it, and she sought their ideas about how to better serve them. Elliott also answered their questions, ranging from whether to focus on the SAT or the ACT, and how to prepare for each test, to school start-times and the need for stronger communication between students and school officials.

"Young people don’t dream about opportunities they don’t know about," she said, emphasizing the need for students to be proactive in applying for colleges and identifying the scholarships that will help them pay the costs of higher education. "There are wonderful possibilities that are within your reach," she said, and then added, “hard work beats talent when hard work works hard."

After sharing an informational report of comparisons in student participation across the country in UNCF scholarship and internship offerings with the university administrators, Reed took his message to the entire student body. The two-hour session emphasized the importance of students seeking, applying for, and completing scholarship and internship applications. He also shared application tips and strategies on how to land internships.

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