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VUU Junior Receives $25,000 UNCF Scholarship

4/10/2014

VUU Junior Receives $25,000 UNCF Scholarship;
Will Be Featured On BET This Sunday

 (Richmond, VA) - It would be a serious understatement to say that Virginia Union Junior Saraisa Simpson is excited to be a recipient of the UNCF Rising Stars Scholarship in Partnership with Target. “It was amazing!” exclaimed Simpson. “They treated us like celebrities.” The 34-year-old Social Work major just returned from Atlanta, Georgia and the taping of the United Negro College Fund’s (UNCF) “An Evening of Stars.”

Simpson’s selection as a “Rising Star” entitles her to a $25,000 scholarship and she is extremely grateful, but an even greater value for Simpson is the opportunity to touch the lives of others. “This is going to show a mom sitting home with nowhere to turn that she can pick up the telephone and get help,” Simpson said. “There are resources out there. There are people who care.”

The mother of 5-year-old Gavin and 13-year-old Jaila started her quest for higher education immediately following her 1998 graduation from George Wythe High School in Richmond, Virginia. Over the next 15 years, she would attempt a college degree at three different institutions. Her marriage to a member of the U.S. Marine Corps kept the family moving too often to complete her studies. But she never gave up. Not when her marriage fell apart. Not when her son was diagnosed with epilepsy. Not when her mother was diagnosed with stage four liver and colon cancer. “Education is so important to me because I will be a legacy to my family, the first to receive a college degree,” Simpson beamed. “Education is the key to success. You’re not even competitive without some credentials.”

Simpson transferred to Virginia Union University last fall after completing an associate’s degree at a local community college. She said the excellent reputation of the Social Work program attracted her. She quit a full-time job and “stepped out on faith” that she would find the finances she needed. She credits Ms. Carolyn Bracey in VUU’s Office of Financial Aid for encouraging her to apply for a UNCF scholarship. “She and Dr. Donna Mack-Tatum (Executive Manager of Enrollment Transition and Scholarship Management) have a calling,” Simpson added. “It’s more than just a job.”

Learn more about Simpson on Sunday, April 13, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. on BET. Her story will be one of several featured during the 35th annual airing of the nationally televised event in support of the United Negro College Fund.

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