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ESSENCE and The Sallie Mae Fund Award $25,000 to ‘Generation Next’ Scholarship Winners

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by Market Watch

ESSENCE Magazine and The Sallie Mae Fund, a charitable organization sponsored by Sallie Mae, today announced the five winners of the “Generation Next” $25,000 scholarship competition. Each of these young African-American women will receive a $5,000 college scholarship from The Sallie Mae Fund, will attend the first-annual ESSENCE Young Women Leadership Conference and will be featured in the October issue of ESSENCE magazine.

The winners are: Ariel Lopez of Greenville, N.C., attending East Carolina University; Janae Nicole Davis of Rochester, N.Y., attending Whittier College; Kamaya Thompson of Chicago, attending Illinois Wesleyan University; Kendra Branch of Smithfield, Va., attending Norfolk State University; and Nadia Dalanne Wallace of Burlington, N.J., attending Georgetown University. From nearly 1,000 entries, these five outstanding women were selected based on their academic record, financial need, and essays, which asked what they would do to prepare themselves for a successful career while in college.
“ESSENCE is proud to salute these gifted young women,” says Angela Burt-Murray, editor in chief, ESSENCE. “We’re happy to reward their hard work and dedication, along with The Sallie Mae Fund, with a scholarship and opportunities that will put them one step closer to achieving their destiny.”
Scholarship winner Ariel Lopez, from Greenville, N.C., is a first-generation college student active in community service projects who is pursuing a career in government at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C. “College embodies a way for me to become successful and give back to the community,” she says.
Janae Nicole Davis, of Rochester, N.Y., claims her disability helped make her all the more motivated to achieve her educational goals. “My parents taught me never to lose sight of my dreams,” she says. A pre-med student at Whittier College in Whittier, Calif., she plans to specialize in women’s health.
From Chicago, Kamaya Thompson knows that “nothing valuable can come without first obtaining an education.” An aspiring writer looking to deliver positive images of the African-American community, her long-term goal is to create programs to enhance the writing skills of youth nationwide. She is attending Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Ill.
Kendra Branch, of Smithfield, Va., admits that her high school grades could have been better, but she earned good grades in community college and is now on track to become a nurse. “Even when I was discouraged, I did not give up,” she says. A student at Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Va., she plans to get a master’s degree so that she can make a better life for herself and her daughter.
A student at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., Nadia Dalanne Wallace of Burlington, N.J., is majoring in political science with the goal of working for the United Nations. “It is important to have a source of encouragement for the long road ahead,” she says, “even if it is within yourself.”
The ESSENCE Young Women’s Leadership Conference is a new program designed to empower young Black women ages 18 to 24. Events will take place in Atlanta, Ga., on Nov. 1, and Washington, D.C., on Nov. 8. The Sallie Mae Fund will share information about planning and paying for college at each event. More information about the events is available at
“For many families, financial need is an unfortunate barrier to college access,” said Erin Korsvall director of community outreach, Sallie Mae, and vice president, The Sallie Mae Fund. “The Sallie Mae Fund is pleased to acknowledge these five inspiring young women and to share the college-is-possible message with other deserving African-American women.”
The Sallie Mae Fund offers free resources to help students prepare for college, including resources geared toward African-American families such as Black College Dollars, a free scholarship database, available at In total, The Sallie Mae Fund will award nearly $2 million in scholarships to students attending college this fall.

Written by Symphony

September 22, 2008 at 12:39 am

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