Student Profile: Hailey Venable
A beautiful campus and helpful, friendly people sealed Hailey Venable’s decision to enroll at USC Upstate.
But there were other factors. She was impressed with the university’s Mary Black School of Nursing. And Venable, a student athlete, was interested in playing soccer and her skills matched the team’s needs.
Today, Venable is a sophomore and is working toward her nursing degree. She said graduating from college will be a significant milestone for her and her family.
“Earning a college degree would make my family extremely proud. My parents both graduated from a four-year university and following in their footsteps would bring them great joy,” Venable said.
While she looks forward to earning her degree, she admits that the academic rigors of college can be challenging.
“Although the classes are difficult, teachers care about you as a student,” Venable said. “They make you earn your grades and they want you to succeed.”
Venable is the recipient of the Ed Wilde Soccer Scholarship. The scholarship is established by Dr. Ed Wilde, former USC Upstate professor and vice president of Academic Affairs. Venable said student scholarships, from external donors or from faculty, staff and retiree contributions to the university’s Family Fund campaign, are great ways to support students.
“While the financial assistance obviously eases the burden of college fees, the vote of confidence and recognition of my attempts to succeed on and off the field, as well as in the community, are very encouraging,” Venable said. “The USC Upstate Foundation should be supported because they support students at a very important stage of life.”
Student Profile: Jessica Robinson
After one visit to USC Upstate’s campus, Jessica M. Robinson knew she wanted to enroll.
It was a long day for the Richburg, S.C., native, who had visited other schools on her way to the Spartanburg campus. She was most impressed by USC Upstate’s beautiful campus, small class sizes, and welcoming feel.
“I said ‘This school would be perfect for me,’” Robinson recalled.
Today, Robinson is a recent alumna, having earned her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in May 2013. After four years as a student, Robinson is more excited about USC Upstate now than she was as a prospective student on her campus visit.
“I made the right decision,” Robinson said. “USC Upstate is a great university.”
When sharing her college experience with others, the word “support” is often mentioned. She said she saw faculty and staff go the extra mile to help students succeed. She said she was supported through rigorous and challenging academic coursework – especially her business courses at the George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics.
Robinson also felt supported through opportunities to develop her leadership skills. For example, she was promoted to the level of supervisor when she worked at the Wellness Center, and she gained valuable experience managing others.
Perhaps one of the strongest instances of support came financially when Robinson received the Budweiser of the Carolinas Scholarship to help fund her education. She said she is grateful to all donors, including the external donors and the faculty, staff, and retirees who give to the university through the Family Fund campaign.
“It was a blessing for me to be able to receive a scholarship,” Robinson said.
“That show of support meant a lot to me and my family.”
Currently, Robinson is considering a career in human resources management and marketing. She hopes to one day live in Charlotte, N.C., and she plans to keep in touch with her alma mater. Now that she’s earned her college degree, she is confident that no obstacle will be insurmountable.
“Earning my college degree shows me that I can do anything,” she said.
Student Profile: Daphnie Glenn
Daphnie Glenn can offer insight about USC Upstate from various perspectives. She is a 2012 graduate of the university, having earned her degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with concentrations in Non-Profit Administration and Communications. She was also a university employee and she worked on campus for AmeriCorps Vista through the Office of Student Life.
However, Glenn’s most fond USC Upstate memory came at the start of her college career in 2008.
“My most positive experience would be first arriving to the campus,” Glenn said. “I was amazed at how eager other students and staff were to help me transition and truly become a Spartan.”
The support Glenn received as a new student came at a time when she needed it most. Three days before she moved on campus, Glenn’s mother suffered a stroke. Glenn, a Greenville native, almost postponed college to remain as near as possible to her mother and family. But she decided to attend and her decision paid off.
“There was not a moment that I regretted my attendance at the university,” she said.
Glenn immersed herself in student life and in her school work. She became a student leader and participated in various student life organizations including the Campus Activities Board and Delta Sigma Theta sorority. Originally an education major, Glenn discovered a passion for nonprofit work and found mentors among the faculty and staff.
“The faculty and staff at USC Upstate are unique. They are more than just teachers in the classroom or coordinators of student events. They are able to connect and engage students. I have met many mentors at USC Upstate and I can truly depend on them,” she said.
She also realized that the USC Upstate Foundation is committed to student success. The Foundation facilitates scholarships from external donors; the Foundation also coordinates the Family Fund campaign, which allows faculty and staff to give to the university. During her time at USC Upstate, Glenn was awarded the D.L. Scurry Scholarship. She said receiving the scholarship allowed her to continue her education without delaying her studies for financial reasons.
“USC Upstate invests in its students,” Glenn said. “Individuals should support the USC Upstate Foundation because they would be supporting individuals like me.”
Student Profile: Mohammed Ali Malik
Attending USC Upstate was a logical decision for Mohammed Ali Malik.
Not only had his three older siblings attended the university, USC Upstate’s location allowed Malik to be close to his family while completing his undergraduate degree in Computer Information Systems.
By the time Malik earned his degree in 2011, he’d discovered even more reasons why attending USC Upstate was an excellent choice.
“My most positive experiences were related to the interactions I had with my professors,” Malik said. “They took pride in student accomplishments. Our success was their success.”
Malik’s success would have been harder to realize without the financial support of donors. Malik was the recipient of the Featherston Family Scholarship, which helped him meet the costs of tuition and books. At the time, he was already working two jobs and maintaining an 18 credit-hour course load. The scholarship provided relief.
“It took away some of the financial stress and it was a great motivator to continue with my studies,” he said.
Today, Malik works as an application developer for United Health Group IT in Greenville, S.C. He regularly applies the training and preparation that he received at USC Upstate in his current career field. He’s content with living in the Upstate. A native of Pakistan and a graduate of Spartanburg High School, Malik is convinced that no region in the world compares with the beauty of South Carolina’s Upstate.
“It’s a great place to be,” he said.
Most importantly, he realizes the important role that all donors – including external donors and faculty/staff/retiree donors to the university’s Family Fund -- play in the lives of students.
“Supporting USC Upstate impacts the lives of others,” he said. “I’m sure you’ll find many more examples like me.”
Student Profile: Deion Logan
At only 20 years old, Deion Logan has already planned his career path. First, he will earn his degree in physical education from USC Upstate in 2015. Next, he will pursue a career as a physical education teacher at an elementary school. At some point, Logan will return to college to earn his master’s degree and his doctoral degree. Ultimately, he intends to be a school principal.
Logan is confident that USC Upstate provides the academic foundation he needs to pursue his goals.
“USC Upstate offers a solid education program,” said Logan, who is currently a junior. “I’ve had a great experience thus far.”
Proximity was a factor in his decision to enroll at USC Upstate. Logan is from nearby Cowpens, and he wanted to be near to his family and his hometown while attending college. However, he did not anticipate the family atmosphere that he found at USC Upstate.
“USC Upstate cares about student success,” he said. “It’s just like a family here.”
Logan received a scholarship from the Spartanburg County Foundation to help fund his education. This financial support has meant a lot to him and to his mother, who is a single parent.
“Because of the scholarship I received, neither my mother nor I had to worry about borrowing money for college,” he said. “I’m very grateful.”
Logan said he hopes people will continue to support USC Upstate through giving. Every gift is important – whether it is a contribution from an external donor or a donation from a faculty/staff member or retiree who gives to the university’s Family Fund campaign.
“USC Upstate is a great university with great people,” Logan said. “They’ve helped me get to this point in my life and I intend to achieve my goals.”
Student Profile: Alex Bolen
When Alex Bolen receives her college degree in 2014, graduation day will mark a personal milestone for her and a historic moment for her family.
Bolen, a fourth year student who is studying Information Management Systems, will be the first person in her family to earn a college degree. The Greenville native said her family has been supportive of her through the successes and struggles she’s faced as a college student.
“I think it’ll be a good day when I walk across that stage,” Bolen said.
One struggle Bolen faced was financial. A loan that she depended on to help fund her education did not come through, and leaving college for a semester was a possibility. However, Bolen was able to continue her studies without interruption when she received the USC Upstate Foundation Scholarship.
“If it wasn’t for the USC Upstate Foundation, I wouldn’t be as far along in my studies,” Bolen said.
As a result of this and other experiences, Bolen said she regularly encourages prospective students to attend USC Upstate. She often brags on the faculty and staff.
“They really care about your success at USC Upstate,” Bolen said. “And the university is growing. I can’t wait to see where it will be in 10-20 years.”
Bolen hopes that external donors will continue to offer scholarships for students and she hopes that faculty, staff and retirees will continue to contribute to the university’s Family Fund campaign. She is proof that the generosity of donors makes a difference.
“Every contribution has an impact,” she said.