When Jessica Wilson applied for the brand new UAB Human Resource Management Endowed Scholarship in 2020, she wasn't sure she had a shot. She wasn't a traditional student, and she was the first in her family to go to college, attending classes while also working full-time at a local bank.
But she was exactly what the scholarship selection panel was looking for.
"Jessica understands, through her work and volunteer experiences, the importance of HR to employees, organizations and society," said Scott Boyar, PhD, Collat's HR Management Program director. "She's committed to being an outstanding HR professional."
The UAB Human Resource Management Endowed Scholarship, launched in 2020, provides high-achieving students within the human resource management major $1,000 to use towards education. The annual award is distributed across the fall and spring semesters. Funds in excess of the amount required for tuition and fees may be used for books, supplies, room and board, or other school-related expenses.
Wilson said she was ecstatic when she learned she was to receive the scholarship's first award.
"I've never been selected first for a scholarship before. [Being selected] made me giddy inside," she said.
Receiving the HRM Endowed Scholarship allowed Wilson to offset the financial burden of student loans, she said.
"I don't qualify for any educational assistance. I'm relying solely on student loans for school," she said. "The scholarship was a step in the right direction for my finances."
Wilson has worked at Regions since 2012, when she started as a bank teller. She's currently a Regions Lifeline Specialist who provides guidance to branch associates on products, services, operational policies and transactions.
The HR Management Program is now accepting applications for the second UAB HRM Endowed Scholarship, which will be distributed in the 2021-2022 academic year.
Scholarship applicants must be currently enrolled in or admitted as a Human Resource Management (HRM) major in the Collat School of Business. They should demonstrate solid academic promise and achievement and have earned at least an overall 3.2 grade point average in coursework completed prior to the time of application.
Scholarship applicants also must have completed at least 45 credit hours and submit a 1,500-word essay responding to the questions on the application.
Wilson said that receiving the endowment's first scholarship unlocked new opportunities with her current employer.
"I interviewed for a new position at Regions," she said. "[The interviewers] were visibly impressed to see on my resume that I was the first scholarship recipient."
Wilson suggests HRM students, regardless of background, apply.
"When I first applied, I wasn't sure that I was going to be selected. My advice for students is, even if you feel like you're ineligible, go for it anyway."