Faced with paying nearly $17,000 per year for her college education, Joy Dangerfield was considering taking out student loans or asking her mother for help.
Now, Dangerfield is among four graduates of Damascus High School who have earned full academic scholarships to attend Bowie State University’s honors program in the fall.
“My mom was really, really, really excited,” Dangerfield said. “I come from a single [parent] home — we were worried a lot.”
The four seniors — Jasmine Adkins-Taylor, 17, Tricia Clayborne, 17, Dangerfield, 17, and Hiram Webb, 18 — said they found out about the scholarship opportunity through Edward Martin, the college and career information coordinator for the school.
“I was just absolutely elated,” Martin said, who encouraged the students to apply. “This isn’t the first year I’ve sent honors students there, but it’s the first time I’ve had four.”
Martin, who’s been at the school since 1988, was unsure how many Damascus students have studied at Bowie State University in Bowie, but said the school sends about two students to the school each year on average.
The students received a four-year scholarship, which includes room and board and tuition, provided they keep their grade point average above 3.3. Tuition and room and board are about $8,500 per semester for in-state students, according to the university’s site.
Adkins-Taylor said her mother was thrilled to not have to worry about paying for her daughter’s education.
“My mom was just really happy,” Adkins-Taylor said. “Not worrying about being able to pay for school — it was a big burden lifted off of your shoulders, being able to not have to worry about student loans and paying for college. I’ve heard horror stories about student loans and not being able to finish college.”
Clayborne said her sister, Cassandra — also a Damascus graduate— is a freshman at Bowie State and plays outfield on the university’s softball team.
Clayborne said she was initially hesitant to attend college with her older sister, but now is excited.
“It’s a good thing I’ll have my sister there to help me with school and activities,” Clayborne said. “... I’m excited about the whole thing. I haven’t really been away from home a lot. I’m trying to get a feel for how college life will be. I won’t be completely independent because my sister will be there, but I’ll be more independent.”
Dangerfield, who said Bowie State was her top choice college, said she is looking forward to the next four years. She plans to enroll in pharmaceutical school, which requires additional years of schooling.
“This is really helpful,” she said of her full ride to Bowie. “I can start saving for pharmacy school.”
Webb agreed and said the best part about receiving the scholarship was relieving his family’s financial burden.
“Not stressing my parents out is the best part of this,” he said. “They’ve already done so much for me. I’m glad I can further my education without having to worry them about money.”
Bowie State University runs in Martin’s family as well. Martin, his wife, two children and brother all are graduates of the university, he said. He said he was thrilled to help students enroll in the university.
“It makes me really proud,” he said. “... I always tell people Bowie State University is the best-kept secret in the state.”