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Access Scholarship Recipients

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2012 -2013 Women's Roundtable Access Scholarship Recipients

 2011-2012wrt access scholars

from l to r: Alainia McMahon, Kelsey Waterfield, Marah McMahan


The Access Scholarship program at East Carolina University provides a unique opportunity to assist students who sometimes do not receive the financial assistance necessary for them to attend college. Currently, ECU can only fund a percentage of its financial aid requests for students. The Access Scholarship program closes that gap and helps students attend ECU. In the fall 2012, three outstanding young women, Alaina McMahon (senior), Marah McMahan (sophomore), and Kelsey Waterfield (sophomore), demonstrated academic achievement and passion for service and were awarded Access Scholarships through the Women's Roundtable.

One of the fundamental priorities of the Women's Roundtable is to raise funds for students at East Carolina. Over the past five years, the Roundtable has provided funding for Access Scholarships. These scholarships are awarded to students with high academic potential and great financial need. In 2011, the Women's Roundtable board of directors' goal of fully endowing two additional scholarships was met—the Kathy A. Taft Memorial Women's Roundtable Access Scholarship and the Kay Chalk Women's Roundtable Access Scholarship were given to two students. The Women's Roundtable board of directors made a $125,000 pledge to fully endow the memorial scholarship in Kathy Taft's memory. Kathy was a founding member of the Women's Roundtable and a tireless advocate for students. Kay Chalk was the first chair of the Women's Roundtable and has generously pledged $125,000 to fully endow this scholarship.

As a freshman, Marah McMahan of Asheboro, NC, was awarded the Kathy Taft Memorial Women's Roundtable Access Scholarship. She is a spirited young woman who hopes to a make difference in the lives of children through teaching.

"I always thought the easiest way to impact the world is to change the life of a child. Hopefully, I will be able to do this through education," said McMahan.

Her high school resume and valedictorian status more than qualified her to become an applicant, and her passion to teach and her involvement in community service projects set her aside from other applicants.

The second Women's Roundtable Access Scholar is Alaina McMahon, from Potters Hill, NC. McMahon wants to be a nurse, and the Access Scholarship is helping her reach her dream. This academic year marks the fourth year McMahon will receive this scholarship from the Women's Roundtable.

"I have always wanted to be a baby nurse ever since I was little, and every year the Women's Roundtable provides me with this scholarship, the closer I get to attaining this dream," McMahon said.

The Kay Chalk Women's Roundtable Access Scholarship is also helping Kelsey Waterfield realize something she thought was only a dream—attending college.

"The expense of college is so daunting that there were times in my life I didn't think college was a possibility," Waterfield said. Originally from the Outer Banks, Waterfield hopes to graduate in May 2015 with a degree in social work and help those that need it most. "With the gift of the scholarship, college was not only a possibility but my reality."

"Without the aid that I've received financially, it would have been close to impossible to attend a four-year university," said McMahon. With these scholarships, the Women's Roundtable is helping future generations of successful women fulfill a dream, and that mission will continue for years to come.

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