Saved by Gate
McMullen has felt the burden of student loans. As a financially overwhelmed
college student, she thought the weight could only be lifted by a miracle – or the
Gate of Opportunity Scholarship.
native of Waxhaw, N.C., Grace chose Berry even though she knew that she would
not be eligible for the HOPE Scholarship and other state assistance available
to Georgia residents.
she did receive financial aid from the college, the specter of mounting debt
led her to question that decision. By the end of her freshman year, she had
made the difficult decision to transfer. Then an unexpected reprieve arrived –
her acceptance into the Gate Program.
I realized I had received the scholarship I was a little confused because I had
been so ready to transfer,” Grace admitted. “That confusion quickly turned into
gratitude, and I realized that staying at Berry was the best thing that could
have happened to me.
Gate Program is unique because it makes it possible for students like Grace to
work their way through Berry and graduate debt free. The scholarship represents
a partnership between Grace and her family, the college and donor Audrey Morgan,
a member of the Berry Board of Visitors and a generous supporter of Berry
students. Grace’s portion is paid through her participation in the Berry’s
on-campus Work Experience Program.
Scholars are required to work 20 hours per week (16 for freshmen) in the spring
and fall and full time during the summer months and holiday breaks. This may
sound like a daunting task for a college student, but not to Grace.
me, having to work so many hours isn’t a hindrance,” she said. “It’s an
opportunity to get my hands on even more projects
and to build my resume in ways that other college students can only dream
a performer pursuing a bachelor’s degree in music with elective studies in
business, Grace relishes her on-campus job as an assistant to Dr. Kris
Carlisle, one of the many talented faculty members in Berry’s fine arts
department. This spring, her talents as a pianist won her the right to perform
in concert as a soloist with both the Rome and Berry College symphony orchestras.
also works for Berry’s student activities board – helping to plan some of the
largest events on campus each year – and as a customer service assistant in the
financial aid office.
knows none of these experiences would be possible without the generosity of Audrey
Morgan, the donor who helped keep her Berry dream alive.
have made an impact on my life,” Grace expressed, “an impact that I know is
molding me into who I am meant to become emotionally, academically and
spiritually, simply because I am able to stay at Berry. Thank you.”
student editorial assistant Casey Cox