There is a small group of students at JMU who have something a bit special. These incredibly motivated and successful students are known as the Centennial Scholars. The Centennial Scholarship Program (CSP) provides specific scholarships to students with outstanding GPA’s for their college tuition. The CSP “strives to build students’ confidence in their academic and leadership abilities so that they can manage challenges at JMU and beyond. Designated programs have been created to empower students so that they can succeed in their respective discipline” (JMU Centennial Scholarship Website).
Kelly Stickel is a Sophomore CIS Centennial Scholar from Springfield, Virginia. Along with being a part of the CSP, she is an active member of her sorority and holds two executive positions and is constantly on The President’s List. Kelly answered a few questions for The Daily Duke about the Centennial Scholarship Program and how JMU has opened so many doors for her.
How did you find out about the Centennial Scholarship?
I found out about the Centennial Scholarship after searching through and googling JMU scholarships. I originally did not understand the scholarship program but read further into the CSP website and developed a clear idea as to what it entailed.
What was the application process like?
I submitted an application online, which included filling out basic information on myself along with 3 essay questions. I also had to ensure my FAFSA was completed before submitting my application. I then recieved an email stating that I had qualified for an interview, which was with a panel of Graduate Assistants within the program. I participated in a 10 – 15 minute interview in late March then received notification via email that I had been accepted into the program by mid April.
What does JMU do to help Centennial Scholars?
JMU funds the Centennial Scholarship Program and also makes a point to communicate their support and respect for the members of the program. President Alger also held a “President’s Reception” at one of our large group meetings, where he came and spoke on his admiration for members of the program and also the kinds of diversity and experience CSP brings to JMU.
What is necessary of Centennial Scholars to keep their scholarship?
In order to maintain compliance with the scholarship, the Centennial Scholar participants must:
- maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
- complete 100 hours of community service a year
- attend bi weekly large group meetings
- attend weekly small group meetings
- meet with GA mentor at least once a month
- complete 6 hours of study hall a week (only excused from Study Hall if GPA is higher than a 3.0)
- new student/transfer meeting with program director
What opportunities have you been granted from this scholarship that you wouldn’t be able to do without it?
The ability to attend school free of student loan debt is the biggest opportunity I have been granted by this program. I would not have been able to go away to college nor experience school as greatly as I am now without being a member of CSP. The program has pushed me to join other outside organizations, clubs and also to study abroad this upcoming summer. If I did not have CSP I know I would have unhappily stayed home and worked throughout school or struggled through a 4 year institution, only to graduate with the heavy burden of student loans. CSP continues to offer new opportunities for me and open new doors every day!
CSP is important because it offers a foundation of support for students who are not typically used to it. It teaches the importance of mentorship along with civic responsibility. CSP gives so much to its students and ensures that the students give back with their service hour requirement.