ORANGEBURG, S.C. — On Friday, July 16, first-time freshmen gathered in the Smith Hammond Middleton Memorial Center at South Carolina State University for the Bulldog 2.0 event. They got a head start on essential steps needed to complete their transition to SC State.
Freshmen and their parents got the opportunity to mingle and meet faculty and staff. Some also got a chance to meet and speak with Acting President Alexander Conyers as he walked around to introduce himself to families.
“President Conyers was very pleasant. Just from meeting him and the things I’ve read and heard, it looks like he is positive about changes that he can make at the university — not. Only for the current students, but for the new students that are coming,” said SC State alumna, Amber Lambert.
President Alexander Conyers shakes hands with first-time freshman Akario Brown
Lambert graduated from the university in 2003. Her son, Akario Brown, 18, received an 1890 Research & Extension Agriculture Innovation Scholarship from SC State and will major in agribusiness this fall.
“It feels great to be here on a scholarship. It feels good to not have to pay for anything. It just makes me realize how blessed I am and that I have to work hard to maintain that scholarship,” Brown said.
When Lambert asked her son about attending SC State, he was hesitant at first, but as time went on there was something about SC State that drew him in.
“Something sparked an interest his senior year, so he applied and got accepted in October and he starts in August, so I’m so excited and he is too,” Lambert said.
“I’m glad I made the decision to come here because I feel like SC State is a great fit for me. I also wanted to follow in my dad and mom’s footsteps because they’re both alumni,” Brown said.
Ashley Kennedy, Ayauncey Peake and Maya Smith, cousins from Clinton, South Carolina, were also inspired by their family to attend SC State. Kennedy, 18, was interested in going to SC State because his mom and cousin attended. He thought the university would be a perfect fit for what he wanted to major in, which ishis major, teacher education.
“I had other options for where I wanted to go, but SC State had the field of study that best suited me. The MATTE Bridge program also encouraged me to go here,” Kennedy said.
Through the MATTE Bridge program at SC State, he was able to earn college credits and make a smooth transition into the Teacher Preparation Program, where he will receive a $1,000 scholarship each semester.
When Peake, 18, saw what her cousin Kennedy was doing in the MATTE Bridge program and how the university encouraged and pushed its students, it made her want to attend the university, as well.
“I really wanted to go to a Historically Black College or University (HBCU). I looked into State and Claflin, but my cousin ended up coming to SC State. So, I looked more into SC State, and I liked what I saw, so I ended up coming here, too,” Peake said. “This is my first time being out the house and first experience in college, so I’m excited. I plan on meeting new people, getting out and just seeing what it feels like to be on my own.”
Smith, 18, was not sure where she wanted to go, but knew she also wanted to attend an HBCU. After hearing so many good things about the university and doing her own research, she also decided SC State was the place for her.
“I chose SC State because I felt like I needed to go to an HBCU, there was no other way. Plus, they have the best social work program in the state, so it wasn’t a hard decision. I’m very excited and glad I came here,” Smith said.