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Georgia Southern Elite Scholars Program

Enabling Lifelong Success in the Information Technology Workforce

This Georgia Elite Scholar project will contribute to the national need for well-educated scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and technicians by supporting the retention and graduation of high-achieving, low-income students with demonstrated financial need. Over its six-year duration, this project will award a total of 161 scholarships to 65 talented undergraduate students, with a demonstrated financial need, who are pursuing degrees in Information Technology. The objectives of the project include generating stimulating educational opportunities for students to improve their academic performance, increasing degree completion, ensuring their technical competence, and preparing them for rewarding jobs in Information Technology fields.

At a Glance

When: Starting Fall 2023

Who: Students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in information technology

What: Up to $10,000 per year in scholarship support and more

The overall goal is to increase STEM degree completion of low-income, high-achieving undergraduates with demonstrated financial need. A group of computer scientists, information technology experts, and educational specialists will be assembled to adapt, implement, and evaluate a set of evidence-based curricular and co-curricular student support activities. These activities will be evaluated based on the success, retention, and graduation of low-income students in STEM fields. This project will advance our understanding of best practices and lessons that will assist other educators to improve STEM education.

Scholarship Support and Eligibility

Scholarship Support

  • Up to $10,000 per year.
  • Up to 5 years of support to complete a bachelor’s degree in the Department of Information Technology.
  • Other support includes but is not limited to research opportunities, travel to conferences, career mentorships, and others.

Scholarship Eligibility

  • Full-time student majoring in Information Technology
  • Verified financial need (by the university Financial Aid office, as determined by the U.S. Department of Education rules for federal financial aid.
  • U.S. citizenship or permanent residency, and
  • Academic promise – a minimum 3.0 GPA (cumulative)

Scholarship Application

Students interested in applying for the Georgia Elite scholarship must:

Application Deadlines:

  • Fall – June 1 (For fall 2023 only, the deadline is Aug 7)
  • Spring – Nov. 1
2023-2024 Elite Scholars

Acosta, Alex

The ELITE Scholarship has been an invaluable support in my academic journey. By alleviating financial concerns, it has empowered me to wholeheartedly dedicate myself to my studies. This scholarship has effectively removed a significant source of stress, enabling me to concentrate on my academic pursuits and providing the opportunity to pursue industry certifications while maintaining consistently high academic performance.

Bolie, Randolph

My name is Randolph Bolie. I’m an undergrad (junior) at Georgia Southern University, majoring in Information Technology/Cybersecurity. I was born in Liberia, West Africa, and came to the U.S. at the age of six. I am grateful for the Elite Scholars program and looking forward to working with all the scholarship committees and applicants.

Camp, Brandon

The Elite Scholars program is helping me by making college more affordable and allowing me to focus on pursuing a degree without any distractions. It is helping me cover any unexpected expenses each semester, such as required textbooks in my courses. The program also lets me speed up my progress toward graduation by making it much more affordable to take classes during the summer semester. This program has been very beneficial and is helping me work toward a degree in IT at Georgia Southern University.

Dean, Brandon

Hello, my name is Brandon Dean, and I’m from Rincon, GA. I am a senior graduating in December 2023, majoring in Information Technology with a specialization in Cyber Security. I’ve had an interest in technology from a young age, and my passion for it developed during high school when I joined the Technology Student Association (TSA). Through my involvement with the club, I became the Vice President from 2016 (Junior year) to 2018 (Senior year), during which I helped establish our sister chapter at Ebenezer Middle School.

After high school, I became a full-time student initially majoring in Computer Science while working full-time to support my college education. However, as I balanced work and school, I realized that my true passion lay in Information Technology (IT). So, in the Spring of 2022, I changed my major to IT. My love for IT helped me secure a position at Walmart Distribution Center in Statesboro as a Backup System Administrator, where I was able to apply my knowledge of IT. I also landed an internship at IBM during the Summer of 2023, where I had the opportunity to learn new and innovative ways to utilize technology and develop valuable skills.

Receiving the Elite Scholar scholarship has lightened the financial burden of my education, allowing me to concentrate on further developing my skills and pursuing a rewarding career in the field of technology.

[Fall 2023]

Downs, Konnor

I am proud to be among the first individuals in the ELITE Scholars program. I see great potential in this program in helping students succeed in their I.T. future. Thanks to this program, I can connect with other people majoring in Information Technology and have most of my education expenses taken care of.

Kassab, Karam

My name is Karam Kassab, I am an adult junior student here in Georgia Southern University majoring in I.T. I was working full time while being a full-time student and that has become harder as I progressed into my junior year so I decided to drop my work hours to part-time this semester (Fall2023). This scholarship has been a Godsent to me to help me pay for school without stressing about working full-time hours. Thank you to all who participated in making this scholarship available and special thanks to the donors as well. You have made a difference in my life.

[Fall 2023]

Lenz, Garrett

The Elite Scholars Scholarship has been instrumental in helping me complete my degree. With the financial assistance provided by the scholarship, I was able to focus on my studies and finish out my school year with ease of mind. I am grateful for the support that the scholarship has provided me and would highly recommend it to any IT student in need of financial assistance.

Marquez, Sergio

I am very thankful for this support. I accept this scholarship with great pride and will use the knowledge I gain through my journey to help and inspire others

McNeely, Shannon

I am so grateful for the opportunity to receive the ELITE Scholarship. This scholarship helps me tremendously, being a first-generation college student. Having this support is very motivating, as I make a career change and get into the tech industry. I am excited to finish my remaining semester strong and begin my new career!”

Mims, Jalen

I am a freshman at Georgia Southern University, where I am pursuing a degree in Information Technology. My name is Jalen Mims. Being a member of the first group of ELITE Scholars, I am excited to be a part of this group. Being awarded a scholarship by the Committee motivates me to maintain an enduring passion for both my career pursuits and my major’s studies in the Information Technology program.

Ndiappi, Ndiana

The elite scholars scholarship has helped me achieve my goals of academic excellence.

Shamberger, Shanale

Thank you for your generosity and for making my educational dreams a reality. I look forward to representing the Elite Scholars community with integrity and dedication.

[Fall 2023]

Smith, Kacey

I wish to express my deep gratitude for the exceptional opportunity to be selected for the ELITE scholarship. This scholarship represents a significant milestone in my academic and professional journey, and I am fully aware of the immense value it holds, not only for me but also for fellow students seeking to further their knowledge and skills in the field of technology. The ELITE scholarship offers invaluable opportunities for students, providing access to mentorship from industry experts and financial support which empowers future tech leaders to drive innovation and make a meaningful impact in the tech field.

Yangoue Wouatou, Arnaud

I am renowned to be the recipient of the ELITE Scholarship. Your support and encouragement have helped me to keep moving forward. I’m currently enrolled in the bachelor’s degree program in Information Technology with a concentration in cyber security. I’m also an active-duty soldier in the US Army. Your charitable contribution will allow me to stay on top of my studies, continue to strive to be the best in my field of study, and keep protecting our beautiful Country.

Ferrell, Willie

This scholarship for IT students who aspire to make a significant impact aligns perfectly with my goals and ambitions. As a creative individual, I am dedicated to expanding my skills within the cybersecurity industry. The scholarship would provide essential support in furthering my education and allow me to continue making strides in my projects and endeavors. Additionally, it would enable me to pursue my passion for learning and self-improvement, contributing not only to my personal and professional growth but also to the broader field of cybersecurity.
Ultimately, I aim to leverage my skills, experiences, and continuous learning to contribute meaningfully to the IT industry, making a positive impact through advancements in cybersecurity and world-changing actions.

Lanier, Daniel

The ELITE Scholars Program is a game changer for me because it takes the financial burden off of gaining more certifications and makes going to and from internships much more feasible. With this extra support, I’ll be able to afford to attend some great internships and I’m really looking forward to it.

Williams, Juanatas

My name is Juanatas Williams. I am a sophomore at Georgia Southern University, pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Technology and a Minor in Cybersecurity. I am very grateful for the opportunity to be selected for the Elite Scholarship program. This scholarship will help me financially while studying hard to achieve my career goals.

Woodcock, Michael

Since joining Georgia Southern, I have found myself thoroughly enjoying working with the faculty and actively participating in tutoring, mentoring, and collaborative activities. The support and guidance from the faculty have been instrumental, making my university experience truly invaluable. Through the ELITE Scholars Program, I have had the opportunity to connect with faculty, staff, and students (soon, anyway, can’t wait!) in ways that I may not have
As I look forward to continuing my university journey, I am eager to contribute to the program and collaborate with both faculty and other students. I want to express my gratitude for the scholarship and support, which has been a crucial factor in enabling me to persevere through challenging times. The support has made a significant impact on my ability to attend Georgia Southern despite adversities.

Faculty Support Team and Contact

Faculty Team

  • Dr. Yiming Ji, Professor and Chair of Information Technology, Principal Investigator
  • Dr. Lei Chen, Professor, Information Technology, Co-Principal Investigator
  • Dr. Hayden Wimmer, Associate Professor, Information Technology, Co-Principal Investigator
  • Dr. Elise Cain, Assistant Professor of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development (College of Education), Co-Principal Investigator
  • Dr. Kania Greer, Program Coordinator of the Center for STEM Education (i2STEMed), External Evaluator

Contact: For questions related to the Elite Scholarship, please contact the faculty team at:

Acknowledgments: This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 2321939.

Last updated: 2/5/2024