Where are they now: BCA scholarship recipient makes a difference in community
Illinois State’s Black Colleagues Association (BCA) awarded its first scholarship in 1987, and since then the group has become one of the University’s top scholarship providers, giving out over 100 scholarships in the last 20 years.
Many BCA scholarship recipients are active in shaping campus and go on to shape their communities. This is true of English major Raven Nance ’13, who is continuing to make a difference in the lives of African-American youth in her community.
Nance received a BCA renewable scholarship in 2009, enabling her to focus on her studies instead of the growing financial burden of an education.
“The BCA scholarship made a huge difference in my life. I have no loans to repay. Receiving the scholarship money every year definitely helped with that,” said Nance.
After graduation, she shared her passion for education teaching a language arts class at Kwame Nkrumah Academy on the south side of Chicago. While at Illinois State, Nance held leadership positions in Urban Needs in Teacher Education, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Mentoring and Academic Success Achievement Initiative, and was involved in a number of other organizations. She was heavily involved on campus as most of BCA’s past and current scholarship recipients are involved in one or more organizations.
“Because more black scholars are able to attend and graduate with a degree with the help of this scholarship, Illinois State holds on to some hardworking, bright, determined students who bring more diversity to the campus, along with the skill sets and goals. It enriches the University as a whole.”
Nance is looking forward to what her future holds and the future for young black people as a whole. That future is partly made possible by the renewable Judge Russell DeBow Scholarship. She plans on continuing to give back to her community and BCA.
“I encourage anybody who has a dollar to their name to donate to BCA, so this network can continue providing its support to minority students; the benefits are great for all involved. Any amount of money counts as it all adds up. I know I’ll continue donating.”