Students receive $50,000 FVSU scholarships

jmink@macon.comFebruary 24, 2014 

FORT VALLEY -- Kyra Eady remembers the moment she officially became a recipient of a $50,000 scholarship for dual bachelor’s degrees from two different universities.

“I was really shocked,” said Eady, a senior at Veterans High School. “I didn’t think I would get it.”

After all, Fort Valley State University’s Cooperative Developmental Energy Program, or CDEP, scholarship is anything but a run-of-the-mill student award. Six minority and female students from across the nation received Monday a total of $300,000 that will cover tuition and fees over five years of college. Students will receive dual degrees -- one from FVSU and another from a different university -- in the science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, fields. Local recipients included Eady, of Bonaire, and Jordan Ray, a Houston County High School senior from Warner Robins.

“The United States, as a nation, is under-represented in STEM, but under representation in minorities and women is acute,” said Isaac Crumbly, founder and director of CDEP.

Students begin their studies at FVSU, where they receive the first of two degrees, and end at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Texas-Austin, the University of Texas-Pan American, Pennsylvania State University or the University of Arkansas. Their degrees range from chemistry and engineering, to biology and health physics.

On Monday, officials also recognized four FVSU students who are transferring to Georgia Tech, seven who are going to Arkansas and two who are transferring to Penn State.

It’s the only program of its kind in the nation. For the past 31 years, Crumbly has been the driving force, forging partnerships and sponsorships that have resulted in about 1,500 CDEP students and more than $8 million in scholarships over the past two decades.

On Wednesday, sponsor companies from Shell to Exxon Mobil donated a total of $417,800 to the program. In fact, several CDEP graduates are now employed with the same energy companies that contribute to the program.

“Energy is very important -- our economic security is tied up in energy,” Crumbly said. “And these scholarships are very important for these kids.”

In addition to Eady and Ray, this year’s recipients included Moriah Banks of Mount Holly, N.C.; Mercy Grace Browder of Albany; Rocio Castillo of Anchorage, Alaska, and Wesley Collins of Glenn Dale, Md.

It’s not an easy scholarship to receive. To qualify, students must make a high score on the SAT and have at least a 3.5 high school grade point average.

For Eady, the scholarship not only is essential financially, but it also is a confidence-booster. Eady is reviewing other options before accepting the FVSU scholarship, but she intends to major in mathematics and go on to get a civil engineering degree from Georgia Tech. A leader in her school’s Beta and French clubs, as well as a peer tutor, Eady is interested in a career in the energy industry.

Ray, a trumpet player in his school’s band, will focus on a dual degree in math and engineering. He has not decided what career he wants to pursue but probably will accept the scholarship and attend FVSU.

College always was the plan for both Eady and Ray, but without scholarships like the CDEP award, “it would cost a lot more money,” Ray said.

Until Ray snagged the $50,000 scholarship, college funding was going to be a struggle, said his mother, Adrienne Ray. Not only is college costly, but Adrienne Ray’s husband recently took an early layoff from work, she said.

“This really sealed the deal,” she said. “God is good. This really helps us a lot.”

To contact writer Jenna Mink, call 256-9751.

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