Lorraine and Vice President Emily Rouse (photo courtesy of Mark Gormus, Richmond Times-Dispatch).
Tell us about yourself and your work.
My name is Lorraine and I’m the president and founder of Scholarship Sharing. I’m a full-time student at Virginia Commonwealth University working on a Public Relations degree with a minor in Business and Spanish. I’m also working on my certificate in nonprofit management.
When I went to college, I was determined not to fall into debt to pay my tuition and was able to secure almost $20,000 in scholarships alone! Through my efforts, I came to realize how under-utilized or misunderstood scholarships and grants are for more students. I decided to focus my work on educating students on opportunities avaialble to go to college.
Scholarship Sharing connects students to information about financial aid, scholarships and grant opportunities to support higher education. We began in August 2012 as a student organization with only 3 members. Since that time, we’ve grown to almost 600, with new students joining every day. While we do have a VCU student chapter, we operate as an independent entity with open membership to all students — from high schools to community colleges to universities in and outside the United States.
As a full-time student, what keeps you going with your work?
Knowing that I helped students succeed in their efforts to afford higher education more easily is an amazing feeling. It is so rewarding to work with high school students or currently enrolled undergraduates who have so much ambition and drive to suceed but are conviced they can never afford college and consider dropping out or never enrolling. We help prove them wrong, providing information and support that allows them to graduate without loans.
What’s coming up that we need to know about?
We’re hosting a free Scholarship Fair on October 9 and October 10 that will involve over 50 participating organizations, providing students with information on scholarships, fellowships, and grant aid available to them. We are expecting over 3,000 students to attend this two-day event.
I’ll be graduating in May of 2014 and looking forward to joining the nonprofit sector. I’ll be working to establish Scholarship Sharing as a 501(c)3 tax-expemt organization and expanding our services and impact in the region.