Focus on Students
UMUC Chooses Chesapeake Student for Scholarship

Student is the first selected for full ride in Criminal Justice

Posted on Monday, April 20, 2009


Chesapeake Vice President for Academic Services Kathryn Barbour, left, and UMUC Community Relations Coordinator Morgan Pearson, right, congratulate scholarship recipient Brenda Pierce. 

WYE MILLS – Brenda Pierce, a Chesapeake College criminal justice major from Grasonville, was selected to receive a new scholarship at the University of Maryland University College. The award will allow Pierce to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice when she graduates from Chesapeake College this spring.

A grandmother and widow, the mother of four grown children said she is looking forward to continuing her education and beginning a new career. Pierce said she hopes to work for the Department of Homeland Security some day.

Until news of the scholarship, Pierce said, her educational future was in doubt. Pierce will receive her associate’s degree in May. She was hoping to find a job and earn enough money to pursue a bachelor’s degree in the future. Now she will be able to begin UMUC classes this summer at the Eastern Shore Higher Education Center on Chesapeake’s campus.

"It didn’t look like I would be able to start a bachelor’s program right away. Until a few minutes ago it was just a dream," said Pierce after being told about the scholarship.

Representatives from UMUC and Chesapeake College recently surprised Pierce with word that she was the scholarship’s recipient.

"We had an anonymous donor who just established a need-based, merit scholarship for nontraditional students. I’d been working with Brenda on her admission to UMUC and I thought she would be a candidate for this scholarship," said Morgan Pearson, community relations coordinator for UMUC.

Pearson and Deborah Urry, director of the Eastern Shore Higher Education Center, summoned Pierce to a meeting. She was told that there were questions about her application to UMUC. In a call from Lisa Romano, assistant vice president for community relations at UMUC, Pierce learned that the meeting was a ruse. Instead of asking application questions, Romano told Pierce that the tuition and fees for her bachelor’s program at UMUC would be covered.

"What I’m feeling is a combination of shock, relief and excitement," Pierce said after hearing the news. "I’m beyond happy and grateful."

A native of Caroline County, Pierce first began her college journey 27 years ago. She quit after one year. She enrolled at Chesapeake College in 2003 after the death of her husband.

Chesapeake Instructor of Criminal Justice Terry Alston said he is not surprised that Pierce was selected for the scholarship.

"Brenda came to Chesapeake as a mature student ready to work hard. She is a good student and has a lot of potential. I’m sure she will do great things in her new career," Alston said.

For more information about the Eastern Shore Higher Education Center, please call Deborah Urry at 410-827- 5761.

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