With support from more than 100 donors, Black Alumni of SMU awarded its first scholarship of over $7,000 to sophomore Leah Johnson of Little Elm, Texas. The alumni group launched the scholarship fund and honored 13 history makers at a special event in February.
Johnson is majoring in journalism with minors in Spanish and advertising. As an active member of the Association of Black Students, PULSE ministry outreach and the Mustang Academic Bridge Program, she has participated in mentoring and community service projects.
“Although it was a very tough decision, the selection committee felt Leah was a well-rounded student who demonstrated strong qualities as a mentor and leader,” says Fredricka Johnson ’08, immediate past chair of Black Alumni of SMU. “We hope that she will continue to excel in her studies and give back to those students she mentors.”
Among the highlights of the past academic year for Johnson was an SMU Alternative Spring Break trip to volunteer with the AIDS Project of Los Angeles. “My favorite part about the staff was how passionate they were to work with and educate youth on the dangers of AIDS.”
This summer Johnson is working on campus as a desk attendant at Dedman Fitness Center and as a summer conference leader for SMU’s Office of Conference Services, which handles logistics for events ranging from cheerleading camps to business workshops.
Johnson says the Black Alumni of SMU Scholarship will take some of the financial pressure off her mother, a single parent who also assists Johnson’s older brother, a graduate student at the University of Houston.
After earning her Bachelor’s degree, Johnson plans to attend graduate school. The scholarship moves her closer to that goal, she says. “I am grateful to have recieved this scholarship and hope this is just one of many more to come.”