Eight students who demonstrate a strong faith and a desire to lead others each received a $2,000 scholarship from the Parents Council.
Student development staff identified campus leaders, and the Parents Council selected the top eight. The following students received the 2019-2020 Emerging Leader Scholarship from the Parents Fund: Brenna Brown, of Easton, Pennsylvania; Abigail Hamm, of Palmetto, Florida.; Joshua McKinley, of Orlando, Florida.; Madisyn Nevad, of Wellington, Florida, Nathan Olver, of Blairsville, Georgia; Enrico “Ricky” Pucci III, of North Port, Florida; Lauren Roub, of Melbourne, Florida; and Erica Ruitto, of Ellington, Connecticut.
Brown said the scholarship frees her up to give back to the people who have given to her. She spent most of her freshman year working 30-some hours a week as a waitress.
“It means I can dedicate my time and energy to serving,” she said. “This lifts that financial burden off my shoulders.”
Brown will lead a “Fish” group during Welcome Week, guiding first-year students through activities, social events, faculty introductions and chapel to help them get acclimated. She hopes to lead a spring break mission trip to Guyana, where students work with human trafficking victims and impoverished people.
After participating in this year’s trip, she decided to change her major from marine biology to intercultural studies. Her long-term goal is to attend law school and become an advocate for human trafficking and child abuse survivors.
Nevad, a sophomore English major, wants to be “a light” on the campus she fell in love with as a tenth grade student on a tour. During her first year at PBA, Nevad participated in the Impact Leadership Team, which develops leadership skills. The Impact Leadership Team partnered with Workship and other University departments to help rising leaders like Nevad find their fit.
Nevad also works with another student to lead their church’s small group for middle school girls.
“Getting that scholarship was rewarding. I definitely wasn’t expecting it,” Nevad said. “It signifies that the hard work I put in this year, not just in school but in the student ministry, is paying off.”
Both Nevad and Enrico “Ricky” Pucci, a sophomore psychology major, said God led them to PBA. Pucci said he knew he could grow here as both a Christ-follower and a student after he met Dr. Tom St. Antoine, director of the Frederick M. Supper Honors Program, and they talked about what it means to be a Christian in academia. Pucci was equally impressed when Dr. Don McCulloch, associate professor of psychology, shared about how faculty and staff — acting as messengers of Christ — help students change by showing them love and grace.
Now that Pucci has a year of classes under his belt, he’s looking for opportunities to lead. He will volunteer at Student Orientation, Advising & Registration this summer and serve as a “Fish” group leader.
For Pucci, these are opportunities to immerse new students in the same love and community he experienced as a freshman. The scholarship solidifies that Pucci is part of this community, he said.
“Getting this scholarship is just such a generous gesture from the Parents Council,” Pucci said. “It’s just such a great honor.”
Photo 1: From left: Students Madisyn Nevad, Lauren Roub, Abby Hamm, Brenna Brown, Parents Council representative Dee Devine, Nathan Olver, Joshua McKinley and Ricky Pucci pose for a photo at the Refresh banquet. Devine attended so that she could present the students with their $2,000 Emerging Leader Scholarships.
Photo 2: Parents Council representative Dee Devine speaks to Nathan Olver during the Refresh banquet, where she presented students with Emerging Leader Scholarships from the Parents Fund. Each student will receive a $2,000 scholarship.