The Park Scholar program will grant three additional scholarships annually to students enrolled in the Roy H. Park School of Communications, according to Matthew Fee, director of the Park Scholar program.
Fee said adding students to the program reflects the changing rationale of the program.
“A lot of students don’t, perhaps, hit their stride until they get to college,” he said. “A lot of times when students get here, all of a sudden they are contributing to the community and they are participating and serving as leaders. Why not have another possibility of them receiving the award?”
Beginning in 2008, students will apply during their sophomore year and receive the award for their last two years at the college. The class of 2010 is the first group of students eligible for the award.
As a Park Scholar, the student will receive full funding for tuition, room and board, and stipends for books and living expenses. They will receive an additional one-time computer purchase worth up to $2,500. Fee said students are selected based on academic excellence, leadership, service and involvement.
Opening the scholarship to juniors has been discussed since Fee arrived at the college in 2004.
“I see the program as a dynamic community, and I think that having students that were already here become part of it only makes it even [more] dynamic,” Fee said. “It is really important to have it be a program that evolves.”
The Park Scholarship is funded by the Park Foundation that was established by Roy H. Park in the 1960s as part of Park Communications. It also funds scholarships at North Carolina State University.
Freshman Park Scholar Seth Palmer said the Park Scholarship is a great opportunity but carries heavy responsibilities.
“There is the 3.5 GPA that we have to keep [and] there are a lot of events we have to do as well as submitting service proposals,” he said. “You are expected to take the lead in those sort of things.”
Freshman Joshua Deal said he sees the scholarship as the ultimate reward for hard work. He said he would even consider changing his film, photography and visual arts major in order to be eligible.
“Ultimately, you spend four years in high school working your butt off trying to get scholarships,” he said. “When you’re coming to a school that’s $40,000 a year [the scholarship is] definitely [worthwhile].”
Freshman Sarah Meyers said it is unfair exploratory students are ineligible to apply for the scholarship.
“If you are exploratory and you are exploring your options, the Park School might be one of your options,” she said. “If I was eligible, I would [apply].”
Senior Amanda Pendolino, a television-radio major, said she thought it was good to reward students with credit, but introducing new students to the program might be a challenge.
“It might be difficult for those students who are coming,” she said. “They will be coming into a program with students who have already known each other for two years.”
Fee said he has seen interest in the scholarships from students.
“I also think there is a degree of excitement about it [and] a lot of questions,” Fee said. “It is one of the things that [Dianne Lynch, dean of the Park School] and I have been working on for the next year so that by the time Spring 2008 rolls around … students [are] aware of the way the process is going.”