Students express gratitude for scholarship support during Founders Celebration

by | Oct 11, 2021

Opportunity Scholar Afina Fayez was one of the UMSL students discussing the impact scholarships have had on their education in a new video.
Opportunity Scholars student Afina Fayez

A video during the 30th annual Founders Celebration highlighted the impact scholarships have had on UMSL students, including Opportunity Scholar Afina Fayez. (Screenshot)

Many University of Missouri–St. Louis students benefit from the generosity of donors, who support scholarships to help them reach their educational goals.

People tuning into the virtual portion of the 30th annual Founders Celebration on Thursday had a chance to hear from eight students across a variety of academic programs sharing their gratitude for the scholarships that have and continue to help position them for success after graduation.

Senior accounting major Gabrielle Brown, junior elementary education major Faith Carter, junior public policy and administration major Bella DeArmitt, sophomore computer science major Jeremy Dobrzanski, sophomore physics major Afina Fayez, senior information systems and technology major Shannon Goersch, freshman undeclared major Eva Konde and junior international business major Justin Stephney each took turns talking about the impact scholarships have had on their education in a video produced by Contemporary Productions in consultation with UMSL staff members in Executive Events, University Advancement and University Marketing and Communications.

“The scholarship means a lot to me,” said Stephney, a dean’s list student in the Pierre Laclede Honors College. “It’s showing me that someone really believes in what I do – someone putting their money, their value into my education. It allows me to really just put in a lot of work. It influences me a ton, and it makes me want to work hard. Every time I go to class, I remember there’s someone who put their money into me being in this class, and so it definitely makes me want to work harder and get better grades.”

Fayez and Konde are both part of the Opportunity Scholars Program, which awards scholarships covering full tuition, fees, books and normal costs of room and board for outstanding St. Louis-area high school students who are either first-generation college students or who are underrepresented in their chosen academic fields.

“I come from a family of immigrants, so paying for school was not an option for my mom,” Fayez said. “When I got the Opportunity Scholarship, I took it right then and there and decided I was going to go to UMSL.”

Beyond the financial support, Carter has developed a relationship with her scholarship donor.

“I get mentored by her a lot,” Carter said. “I speak with her on a regular basis.”

All eight students offered their thanks for the support.

To watch the video, click below.

Steve Walentik

Steve Walentik