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
"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
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.