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BCA scholarship spotlight: Overcoming the odds

student speaking at podium

Senior Richard Greenfield speaking at the 2016 BCA Scholarship Brunch.

Despite struggling with a disability that affected his academic abilities, senior Richard Greenfield has overcome obstacles to become one of Illinois State University’s most involved leaders. His perseverance in the face of academic adversity was recognized with a scholarship from Illinois State University’s Black Colleagues Association (ISUBCA) at its annual scholarship luncheon during Homecoming 2016.

“I was born with lead poisoning, and it damaged my comprehension skills so badly that I almost failed third grade,” Greenfield said. “I faced academic challenges in middle and high school, but I persevered because I was determined to attend college.”

Following high school Greenfield enrolled at Richard J. Daley College in Chicago. After completing his general education requirements, he transferred to Illinois State University where he has maintained a 3.61 GPA along with joining many organizations including College Democrats, Critical Politics Society, Black Student Union, Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity, and Student Government Association where he serves as secretary of governmental affairs.

Greenfield first wanted to pursue a degree in education to become teacher. That is until he learned of restrictions that would make pursuing such a career more difficult than he originally thought. After coming across this barrier, he didn’t let it stop him, but instead, it motivated him to seek a degree in political science. He feels by following this path, he can help find solutions to streamline the process of becoming a teacher in Illinois and other issues like student debt.

Scholarships were one opportunity Greenfield knew would help take the burden off any student debt he may accumulate. The ISUBCA scholarship he received allowed him to reduce his loan package this academic school year by $1,200.

“The ISUBCA scholarships are important for black students on campus. Some of the African American students at Illinois State are first-generation and might not have the financial resources to attend college, and this scholarship is a tremendous resource for them.”

Thirteen other students also received need-based scholarships at the luncheon, several of which were renewable. Students (prospective and current) looking for opportunities like those Greenfield received can now apply for the 2016-2017 BCA scholarships. Deadline to submit applications is 4:30 p.m. on Friday, December 16, 2016.