A team of three South Carolina State University students is sharing a $1,000 scholarship from the Pay it Forward competition sponsored by South Carolina’s electric cooperatives.
The team from SC State’s Dr. Emily England Clyburn Honors College — Jordan Brown of New Zion, Simien Chestnut of St. Matthews, and Jerdashia Scott of Spartanburg — was awarded the scholarship for their team report, “Getting Crime Rates Down in Rural South Carolina.”
The students researched criminal activity near historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and proposed a community partnership solution, complete with an app, to make students, faculty and staff aware of the risks and to provide crime prevention tips.
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“Jordan, Simien and Jerdashia exemplify the potential we see in every student who comes through our doors,” SC State Interim President Alexander Conyers said. “Working together, they took on a difficult topic and suggested practical strategies, which could have real impact. SC State’s Public Safety team already is reviewing their suggestions. This kind of critical thinking is what the Dr. Emily England Clyburn Honors College is all about.
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“We thank the electric cooperatives not only for supporting our students, but also for trusting young people to tackle important concerns in our communities,” Conyers said.
The competition challenged students to search for solutions to pressing social and economic problems in the state’s rural areas. In the inaugural contest, students at the state’s largest public honors college programs put their education to work by brainstorming solutions. Teams of honors students at Clemson University and SC State universities were named as finalists.
“It’s great to see young South Carolinians apply their education, talent and drive to the issues facing rural communities,” said Mike Couick, president and CEO of The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina. “Both of these projects represent the creativity and critical problem-solving we hoped to inspire when we launched the Pay it Forward initiative.”
The projects were judged by a panel of community leaders including U.S. Rep. James Clyburn, Post and Courier reporter Avery Wilks, state Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman, the Rev. Charles Jackson of Brookland Baptist Church, and Sue Berkowitz of the S.C. Appleseed Legal Justice Foundation.
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Clemson students Micah Jordan of Easley, Trina Pham of Mauldin and Aiden Tombuelt of Spartanburg are sharing the top prize, a $5,000 scholarship, for their plan to create mobile dental clinics to serve rural residents who do not have dental insurance or access to regular dental care. Calling their initiative “The Party Enamel,” the students outlined plans to outfit and staff mobile clinics and identified multiple partner organizations and funding sources.