Scholarships and serving others were the focus as more than 150 people, including nearly 70 scholars, attended Columbia College’s 2022 Scholarship Day on Dec. 3.
The event, held on main campus with a virtual option, included a welcome presentation and breakfast; interview competitions; and parent information sessions. Faculty and staff members conducted interviews with students individually. The college then provided lunch to all in-person attendees.
Fifty-five scholars were on campus for the event, while 14 participated virtually.
“Scholarship Day is important because Columbia College is committed to providing universal access to quality education and supporting students by offering $11 million in institutional aid for these students,” says Kristen Neeley, director of Transfer Services, who helped organize the annual event. “This special day would not be possible without the support of our faculty, staff and current student leaders.”
Eligible incoming students competed for the Presidential Scholarship (full tuition), Provost Scholarship, Diversity Excellence Award, First-Generation Achievement Award, and the Outstanding Leadership and Service Award.
New freshman students are eligible to participate in Scholarship Day if they have been admitted to the Columbia College traditional Day program. Admitted students must have a minimum 3.0 GPA.
“I look forward to Scholarship Day each year,” says Dr. Sarah Lirley, assistant professor of History, who was among the faculty members conducting student interviews. “I value the opportunity to meet potential students and to connect with colleagues. I especially enjoy learning more about potential incoming students and answering their questions about the college while emphasizing our strengths, such as small class sizes and getting to know their professors and staff members.”
Scholars at the event received a chance to provide comments and suggestions about Scholarship Day.
“I really enjoyed the interviews and found the people easy to talk to,” wrote an anonymous participant.
The day provided an easy avenue for CC student ambassadors to give back to a program that has directly benefited them.
“Having participated in CC’s Scholarship Day myself, I was happy to use my experience to help ease other students’ anxiety before their interviews,” said nursing student Molly Flanagan.
Nicholas Pouk, a forensic science biology major, echoed that sentiment.
“It was really surreal personally since Scholarship Day was such a big part of my college experience and now I am able to help guide others through that similar experience,” Pouk said.
This year, organizers infused a service project into the Scholarship Day schedule, aligning with CC’s values statement to develop “globally engaged citizens who are creative, curious and ethical.” Attendees produced 22 tie-fleece blankets in support of The Salvation Army of Columbia.
“This activity helped serve our community in Columbia and it was a great team-builder for our prospective students with nervous or anxious energy during Scholarship Day,” Neeley said.
The Salvation Army is “blessed by the donations” it receives from community partners such as CC that “continually allow us to provide for our neighbors in need,” said Captain Amy Cedervall with The Salvation Army of Columbia.
“Our 61-bed shelter is consistently at capacity,” Cedervall said, “and there’s no way we could serve them without the generous support of our community.”
Students from Missouri, Illinois, Delaware, Texas, Minnesota, Michigan and North Carolina participated in Scholarship Day. Countries represented also included Nepal, Honduras and Nicaragua.
Notification of awards will be communicated to participants no later than Dec. 23.