School: Campbell University
Bio: Growing up in a small town, Elizabeth City, NC of Pasquotank County, I’ve fallen in love with the small town environment, which is why I attended Campbell University. I graduated from Campbell University in 2019. I studied Kinesiology Pre-Med with Biology, Chemistry, and Honors Interdisciplinary as my minors, while in hopes of becoming an Optometrist in the future. The main reason that interests me in becoming a member of the Leadership Advisory Council is because I want to make difference. I want be more involved with the community, along with the program because I felt like I did not get to know the other scholars that well. I believe that building relationships with others is significant because you will never know who you will work with in the future. Without the program, I wouldn’t able to handle conflicts as well as I do now, or be able to raise my voice in a crowd. The program had given me opportunities to have different internships that help me in the processing of pursuing my career, which inspired to come back to the rural community in the future. The staff always has an open arm for me to come to and always there when I needed help. Overall, the Golden LEAF Scholarship Program has a special place in my heart and there are no doubts that other scholars feel the same way.
School: Appalachian State University
Bio: I never thought I would make it this far. As a first generation college student coming from a small-town school, I thought my chances of getting into a good four-year university and being able to afford it we’re slim to none. But after four years of devoting my hard work, time, and energy to doing well in high school, I’m now a full-time student at Appalachian State University. I’m currently double-majoring in Anthropology and Sociology, with a bit of time carved out of that busy schedule to be involved with the Golden LEAF Leadership Program and the Leadership Advisory Council. Golden LEAF has given me peace of mind, allowing me to worry less about tuition and worry more about my future in college and beyond. The Leadership Program and the Advisory Council are giving me a plethora of connections important to my professional future— professional skills, valuable experiences, career opportunities, and a state-wide network of friends. I can’t wait to experience these gifts further in my coming years with the Golden LEAF program.
School: Wingate University
Bio: My name is Alonso Hernandez. I am majoring in Exercise Science at Wingate University with aspirations of becoming a physical therapist. I was born and raised in Wilson, NC. My mentality of hard work, not taking things for granted, and being optimist has allowed me to reach new heights. After spending a year in physical therapy for two ACL injuries; my career goal in life is to help others in a rural community through physical therapy. Growing up in a small-rural town, I know the difficulties of finding affordable and quality service in the medical field. The Golden LEAF Foundation is allowing me to help my rural community through internships and service projects in the field of my choice. The Leadership Advisory Council is allowing me to develop my leadership skills to better serve my rural community and others. As a first-generation college student and a first year Golden LEAF scholar, I am blessed to be a part of this team and am beyond excited to see what my future brings in this program.
School: UNC Charlotte
Bio: My name is Savannah Houser, and I am a first-generation college student from the small town of Wadesboro, NC. I am currently a freshman at UNC Charlotte with a major in Pre-nursing and an Associates of Arts degree. At my university, I am a part of an all-girl ministry program known as Delight and I am also the feature twirler for the Pride of Niner Nation Marching Band. Some leadership opportunities that I have been involved with are teaching majorette classes, children’s church, and completing over 100+ community service hours. Although I had success in these opportunities, learning new skills through the scholar program will help me improve both personally and professionally. As a Year 1 Scholar and a part of the LAC team, I am excited to learn new ways to improve my leadership skills and help others in my rural county. I knew that being granted this scholarship would not only help me financially, but also help me develop important skills that are needed in the world today through service projects and summer internships. I know that being a part of the Golden LEAF program will help me make an impactful difference in my community and also to those around me.
School: Winston-Salem State University
Bio: I am ShaTonya Howell, a junior at Winston-Salem State University. I am currently a Healthcare Management major with a minor in Information Systems. I was raised in the small town of Tarboro, NC in Edgecombe County where not many people are able to have this opportunity, and I am honored. Being a first-generation college student and experiencing my first year as a Golden LEAF Scholar, I am looking forward to the upcoming year. Golden LEAF has taught me great innovative skills throughout my first-year journey, the ability to step out of my comfort zone and to develop more as a leader. After my first internship, I knew that going back to help with my rural county was my passion. Being able to see what the problems were and how I could be a big help to my community drove me to become more active. All of this was because of the Golden LEAF Foundation, being apart of this organization not only opened new doors for me but it also broadens my mind on how I can help my rural county. My school motto says, "Enter to Learn, Depart to Serve" and I plan on doing just that.
School: UNC Pembroke
Bio: My name is Juwan Lockhart, from the small town of Hamlet, NC. I am a senior at UNC Pembroke and currently a major in Art with a concentration in Digital Art. Over the past three or four years, I have been afforded the opportunity to serve in leadership roles in my community as well as under my church in our music and youth department. Over the past 4 years, The Golden LEAF Scholars Leadership Program has made a huge impact on my leadership journey and has influenced me to go and make a difference in my rural community. While being in the program I’ve been able to step out and host many programs and events to impact lives in counties such as Richmond, Lee and Anson County. This program has been a great influence in my life personally. It has allowed me to grow and face the fears of stepping out and being a leader in my community. Through this program, I’ve been inspired to chase my dreams and accomplish many goals and dreams.
School: UNC Chapel Hill
Bio: I am Mya Walker and I am from Thomasville, NC. I am a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill currently studying sociology on the pre-law track with a minor in social economic justice. I serve as a Pre-College Mentor with Upward Bound, a mentor with Queen In You, a Co-Chair on the Elections Committee through the Black Student Movement, and a Shift Leader with Carolina Cupboard. When I first learned about the Golden LEAF Scholarship, I knew it would not only help me financially but personally and professionally as well. The Golden LEAF Scholars Leadership Program allows me to gain insight and understanding about the impact I can have on rural counties in North Carolina through internships and service projects. As a member of this program I have developed the skills to become an effective leader, built lasting friendships with other scholars, and created a vision of how I will give back to my community.
School: Fayetteville State University
Bio: As a first-generation college student, attending a four-year university was a dream of mine. That dream came true, as I am now in my Sophomore year majoring in Biology. Growing up in a small rural town and unprivileged family, I felt that college would be a difficult adjustment. Golden LEAF made that adjustment a little bit easier for me, as well as added to the appreciation I have for my family and people such as GLSP staff that invest into my future. The Golden LEAF Scholars Leadership Program has changed my life in numerous ways. I have met lifelong friends and learned to embrace my leadership qualities by putting them to use in my day to day life. Being a part of Golden LEAF has given me opportunities to grow as a student and a leader, but also to make a difference in my life and the lives of others around me. Through this programs leadership development, internships, and mentoring I know that my dreams and aspirations will come to fruition.
School: East Carolina University
Bio: My name is Brittany Wiley and I am from Wilson, NC. I am a graduate of East Carolina University, where I received my Bachelors of Science degree in Biology. I am currently a senior at East Carolina University pursing a second degree studying Public Health in Pre-Health Professions with a minor in Psychology. Upon graduation, I plan on attending a 2-year physician assistant program. The Golden LEAF Scholars Leadership program has provided me with the opportunity to be able to work with amazing Physician Assistants at Wilson Medical Group that is located in my hometown. Over the past three years, Golden LEAF has allowed me to grow personally and professionally. It has opened so many doors for me to be able to continue to grow as a person, and to continue my journey towards my education and future career. Being a part of this foundation has made a huge impact on where I am today. Throughout the years of being in the program, I have obtained job offers, leadership and volunteering opportunities. This is why I am very grateful to represent the Golden LEAF Scholars Leadership program. I look forward to continuing my journey as a Golden LEAF Scholar.