Wells Fargo supports UNCF and awards $50,000 in scholarships to HBCU students in Florida

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For some, the journey to a quality education can be challenging, especially for first-generation college students who lack the financial resources many take for granted. Recently, UNCF (United Negro College Fund) and Wells Fargo partnered to help five deserving students by awarding each of them a $10,000 scholarship to be used toward college expenses.

“One of the best aspects of supporting organizations like UNCF, is to see the positive effect that support has on our state and communities,” said Scott M. Coble, Wells Fargo’s Florida Community Bank president.

Since 2006, Wells Fargo has partnered with UNCF to invest over $11 million to fulfill the unmet financial obligations of students of color seeking a college degree. With their unwavering support, thousands of under-represented students have made their dreams a reality and are now paying it forward for the next generation.

“One of the best aspects of supporting organizations like UNCF, which promotes academic achievement for low-to-moderate income students and also helps with access to higher education, is to see the positive effect that support has on our state and communities,” said Scott M. Coble, Wells Fargo’s Florida Community Bank president. “We are pleased and honored to help these five outstanding students and future leaders as they move forward with their college careers and continue their journey through life.”

Learn about the five Wells Fargo scholarship recipients in Florida and their inspiring stories below:

1.)    Sherwaine Rhoden: Graduating high school in three years, Sherwaine Rhoden knew early on that she needed to take charge of her learning. The youngest in her immediate family, Rhoden compared her journey in college to running the third leg of a 400-meter relay. “The third leg is often comprised of the most inexperienced athlete on the relay team,” said Rhoden. “However, I have a responsibility to maintain the [family] legacy and put my best foot forward in everything I do.” Currently, a nursing major at UNCF-member HBCU (historically black college and university) Bethune-Cookman University, Rhoden continues the path toward greatness balancing school and being a solider in the U.S. Army Reserve.

With a strong belief in paying it forward, Rhoden hopes to create an organization that will provide resources to high school students who are interested in the nursing field.

“A few years ago, I came across a quote written by [author] Judy Ann Davis, which has inspired me along my journey. The quote reads, ‘The poorest of all men is not the man without a cent, but the man without a dream.’"

2.)    Christina Aleidy Stapleton: From Tampa, Christina Aleidy Stapleton is a first-year accounting student at HBCU Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU). Graduating with honors from Tampa Bay Technical high school while lettering in five sports, Stapleton understands the importance of hard work and dedication—she participated in various community events, such as volunteering for AWANA, an international evangelical nonprofit organization and vacation bible school and participating in and graduating from the leadership academy of the JROTC, a program reserved for the top one-percent of cadets in the state of Florida.

“I am grateful to both Wells Fargo and UNCF for blessing me with a scholarship to assist with the financial costs of my education,” said Stapleton.

Stapleton, a member of the FAMU gospel choir, Army ROTC and the National Association of Black Accountants, plans to graduate with her master’s in business administration and a commission into the U.S. Army as an officer. After serving her country, she wants to join the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a forensic accountant.

3.)    Janiya Johnson: As a first-generation college student, Janiya Donson valued a quality education at a young age. While attending West Florida High School—where Donson graduated summa cum laude with a 4.2 GPA—she was a member of the National Honor Society, Cox Cable Communications Academy and a high school cheerleader. She was awarded senior scholar athlete of 2018, the super hero award, and the senior scholar with a 3.5 GPA or higher award. When asked how she was able to accomplish so much at a young age, Donson responded, “My family is my biggest support system.”

A freshman at Florida State University, Donson has fully embraced her new college experience: becoming a member of Big Brother Big Sister of America, a mentoring program that empowers women to excel in all aspects of life, and Air Force ROTC, where she is learning respect, discipline and integrity. Donson’s future aspirations include joining the United States Air Force and becoming a nurse anesthetist.

4.)    Alexis Lawrence: When Alexis Lawrence, a junior at Stetson University, reflects on how she has succeeded, a few things come to mind. “My family has kept me grounded, love has kept me afloat, God’s will has kept me alive, my purpose has kept me hoping for a better tomorrow, and my personal development has made me want to work towards a better future,” Lawrence said. Born and raised in Jacksonville, her journey began at Sandalwood High School, followed by obtaining an associate degree from Florida State College. Now, as a sociology major with a pre-law track, Lawrence aspires to become a criminal justice defense attorney so she can be an agent of change, using and translating the laws to protect the vulnerable.

5.)    Stherline Saint-Sume: A Phi Theta Kappa alumnus of Miami Dade College, where she served as a student government ambassador, a member of the minority association of pre-medical/pre-health students, and a volunteer for organizations such as Miami Rescue Mission and the Little Lighthouse Foundation. Stherline Saint-Sume has no plans of slowing down. As a junior biomedical sciences major at the University of South Florida, Saint-Sume has also spent time conducting authentic biological research for the University of Miami and Howard Hughes Medical Institute. After graduating with her bachelor's degree in biomedical sciences, Saint-Sume plans to attend medical school to pursue a career as an obstetrician/gynecologist.

To learn more about these outstanding scholarship recipients, join them at one of the UNCF Leaders’ luncheons, taking place throughout the state of Florida in the next few months.

Tampa, Feb. 22, 2019
Orlando, March 20, 2019

To purchase tickets or for more information, visit the Orlando office of UNCF at UNCF.org/Orlando.

About UNCF
UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding nearly 20 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF awards more than $100 million in scholarships annually and administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized motto, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste, but a wonderful thing to invest in.”® Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at more than 1,100 colleges and universities. Learn more at UNCF.org or for continuous news and updates, follow UNCF on Twitter @UNCF.

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Cynetra McMillian
UNCF
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