Logistics industry sales exec, scholarship recipient
“I didn’t know how I was going to pay for my last semester. I had maxed out the federal student loan, which left me one semester shy of completing my degree. “Five years to the day after my dad passed, I got an email – I was awarded an academic scholarship that would take care of it.
“I didn’t apply for the scholarship. Someone in the program knew I was struggling. I found out later it was a supply chain scholarship from the Taylor Family Foundation.
“My dad’s biggest thing was for me to finish college. It was the only thing he asked of me.
“So I became the first in my family to graduate from college. Rather than turn a blind eye or think of me as a number, Clayton State helped me finish.”
Clayton State senior, service-learning mentor
Volunteering at the local food pantry made a lasting impression on Allison Higgins.
Now a peer mentor in Clayton State’s PACE program, she’s helping her classmates learn to love helping people, too.
Through PACE, students apply their classroom knowledge by addressing community needs. That might mean designing a brochure for an animal sanctuary. Or creating an outreach campaign for a nonprofit. Or helping the Red Cross install fire alarms for people who don’t have them.
In her role as liaison and mentor, Allison makes sure community partners benefit from students’ work – and that her classmates meet their deadlines. “I love seeing them get that spark,” she says. “It happens when they realize they can use their skills to make a difference in the real world.”
Campus Life team member, advocate for students
When Clayton State students realized some of their classmates were struggling between paychecks, they turned to LaShanda Hardin and her colleagues in Campus Life.
Campus Life pledged its full support — and the Laker Care Closet was born, offering the basics from toothpaste to mac ‘n’ cheese to any student who asks.
“They just flash their student ID,” LaShanda says. “That’s all it takes.”
LaShanda says the closet removes the stigma from asking for help. It also reminds Clayton State students that community begins wherever you are.
“The students know they have our support in their education, but we also care about them on an individual level,” she says. “When they’re in the professional world, they’ll remember service starts at home. A small helping hand means a lot.”