An enterprising young man from Chicago, a student-athlete studying pre-law and a young woman studying molecular biology are the first recipients of the Dr. Terriel Byrd Scholarship.
The scholarship for students of color was created last year in honor of Byrd, who is a beloved professor of urban Christian ministry and coordinator of the evening ministry program. Palm Beach Atlantic created the scholarship to provide access to the advantages of a private, faith-based university education.
The scholarship recipients are:
— Mariyah Fletcher, a sophomore from McDonough, Georgia, studying pre-law; and
— Angelo McCaskle, a sophomore from Chicago, Illinois, studying business management;
— Gia Smith, a junior from Thomasville, Georgia, studying molecular biology.
McCaskle is CEO of God Soul Apparel, and earned the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award Honorable Mention from the South Suburban Small Business Administration at its 2019 Annual Summit Awards.
Because of COVID-19, McCaskle enrolled in PBA without the benefit of visiting campus in person.
“I really just came here on faith, and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” McCaskle said.
Fletcher, a forward on the women’s basketball team, was recruited by head coach Manisha Redus. Both of Fletcher’s parents are teachers, and she appreciates the scholarship to help cover expenses beyond tuition, she said.
“Being a part of something way bigger than me is amazing,” Fletcher said. “It really means the world.”
Smith came to PBA because of the reputation of the biology program, then fell in love with the campus atmosphere. “I found a family here,” she said. That family included a professor who reached out to Smith to see how she was doing after George Floyd was killed. The professor also let her know that the scholarship was in the making. Smith had Byrd for her Exploring the Bible class.
“He’s such a great man of God. I knew I had to apply,” Smith said. “I feel like I’m paving the way for other students of color here at PBA.”