Doerun native wins $10,000 scholarship
DOERUN, Ga. (WALB) - A Doerun native is motivating others to chase their dreams after winning a $10,000 Scholarship from Bridging the Dream Scholarship for Graduate Students from the Sallie Mae Fund.
The scholarship is in partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.
Denerick Simpson is currently studying for his master’s degree in public administration at Savannah State University. He’s also in the Harvard University Bridge to Dental School program and was selected out of 470 applicants throughout the nation to win the scholarship.
He said he’s had to overcome many challenges and barriers that have led him to this major accomplishment and owes much of his success to his mom and the small-town upbringing he experienced in Doerun.
“Growing up in a single-parent household, my mother did a phenomenal job. I think I owe all of my success to her. It’s just really a blessing, you know? With the $10,000, I’m able to pay my tuition up and that’s just a blessing. It just really provided me with a beacon of hope and continue to push on and stride towards my goals,” Simpson said. “The teachers and people of my hometown like really poured into me and taught me valuable lessons that you know hold true today; and value throughout my life.
After he graduates from Savanah State University with his master’s, Simpson plans to go on to dental school to become a dentist. He hopes through his education, he can help the healthcare system in underserved areas like Doerun.
“Doerun is about a 20 to 30-minute drive to Moultrie, and about a 30-minute drive maybe to Albany. So most people that may not have traffic and they need to get to those everyday essentials, that’s a hurdle for them,” he said. “Being able to you know, use my public administration background, learning about policy, how do we get involved at the local, the state, and the national level to bring better opportunities to those underserved areas is something I’m studying.”
Simpson is no stranger to success. After graduating from Colquitt County High School top of his class in 2013, he went on to be recognized as the highest-ranking student at Albany State University and later graduated valedictorian from Savannah State University in 2018.
As a first-generation college graduate, he said winning such a big scholarship speaks to who he’s become as a person.
“The achievement goes beyond the financial benefits that they provide. More notably, I think, you know, it signifies my leadership ability for the future of society and leveraging change,” Simpson said. “I’m just glad to be a great mentor and representation of, you know, the African American community.”
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