Jessica Carroll, WPI Scholarship Recipient, Discusses Her Student Success Experience
It has made me feel supported. I made a promise to myself to make the most of my opportunities at Georgia State and to commit fully to my studies. The Women’s Philanthropy Initiative allowed me to do that. It gave me the freedom to reduce my hours working in a restaurant and focus on my studies full time, which landed me on the dean’s list every semester. I was able to do volunteer work and begin an undergraduate research internship. Today I’m 32 years old, I’ve graduated from Georgia State with a B.S. in psychology, I’ve been admitted into a competitive master’s degree program at Georgia State in clinical mental health counseling, and my undergraduate research internship has turned into a graduate assistantship.
What have been your peak experiences at Georgia State?
I gained a lot of confidence here. I spent 14 years working in the service industry and was 30 when I returned to school after moving to Atlanta from Dallas. Though I was sure of my abilities, I felt a sense of fear coming to a new city and starting at a new university. I also felt a tinge of embarrassment being a non-traditional student and finding myself in the classroom with bright and ambitious students who were often a decade younger than myself. Those feelings changed when I received a letter from the Women’s Philanthropy Initiative granting me a scholarship.
What opportunities have you taken advantage of outside the classroom?
My volunteer work in hospice and bereavement services completely changed my outlook on life. It’s something I started to do to connect with my community in Alpharetta, where I work with Crossroads Hospice, and where I’ve become comfortable working with older adults. Also, I’ve always liked kids, but I haven’t worked a lot with children, so I’ve been volunteering with Kate’s Club, which ties in with bereavement services. It’s an organization that offers play therapy, art therapy and bereavement counseling to children who have lost a parent or sibling.
What are your plans after you graduate?
I’m interested in working with family systems [as a counselor], which means you have to be familiar with different populations.
What words of thanks would you say to the donors to the Women’s Philanthropy Initiative Scholarship?
This experience goes far beyond completing my degree. It has greatly contributed to my current quality of life and personal happiness–I want to thank you for making that possible. I’m unable to give back much in return yet, except for my word: I will make something of myself. I will not just survive but thrive. Going forward, I give you my word that I will work to encourage others and strive to be of assistance to other women in the future.
The Women’s Philanthropy Initiative was founded on the belief that women are an integral part of Georgia State University’s mission, capable of using their own talents and resources to create new student success stories. Each semester, the Women’s Philanthropy Initiative funds Panther Retention and Keep Hope Alive grants to students who need additional support to continue pursuing their dreams. This financial aid has the power to transform the lives of students and their entire families. In just our first four years, we have been able to create hundreds of these success stories and build momentum toward many more in the years to come.