University of West Florida

Georgia Adams (2010)

My First Generation Story

My mother’s parents were sharecroppers. They farmed other people’s land for a small share of the profits and enough food to feed their family. There was never enough, let alone extra. Things had changed by the time my parents had me, but my relatives still lived by the old American standard of a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. They all had farmer tans and calluses on their hands, and from the time I was old enough to help out, so did I. And there was still never extra. We all worked to live.

I was home schooled from kindergarten through high school, and there was no expectation that I’d go to college. My family are Jehovah’s Witnesses, all of whom would have been happy if I’d made a career out of full-time service to God. Then I took a few semesters of dual enrollment classes at the University of West Florida, and I realized there were more possibilities open to me than I’d ever imagined.

I’m proud of the work my parents and grandparents have done. They’ve built their lives and families around a strong work ethic, and they’ve raised me to value effort, too. But it takes more than that to succeed in our changing world.

Some wonderful financial aid officers at UWF helped secure the funding I needed to pay for my education, including a federal Pell Grant. My time in college has seen me travel halfway around the world for a study-abroad program, work in an internship that has helped me land a job, serve as the editor-in-chief for our student newspaper, The Voyager, and so, so much more.

In spite of the current economic conditions, I’m confident that I have a bright future ahead of me, and this is in large part because of the experiences I’ve had as a college student at the University of West Florida. I know I’m capable of working and getting good grades, of putting together projects and presenting them to my peers and teachers, and of putting that strong work ethic my family instilled in me to work in any situation.

I graduate in May, and I’ve never been so excited for the future. I won’t ever lose sight of my past, but I also plan to embrace the options that a college education has given me.

About the Student

FGV: Georgia Adams 2

Georgia Adams is a dual international relations and print journalism major at the University of West Florida at the main campus in Pensacola. In the summer of 2009 she interned with the Gannett daily, The Pensacola News Journal, and from June-August 2010 she will be working with The Roanoke Times as a Dow Jones News Fund intern. Her service on the staff of the UWF student newspaper, The Voyager, includes being the managing editor, sports editor and copy chief for the 2008-2009 school year and editor-in-chief for the 2009-2010 school year.

Student Stats

Name: Georgia Adams (2010)
Age: 26
Year in School: Senior
Major: Journalism/International Studies (Dual major)
Favorite Course: Newspaper Editing
Dream Job: Editor for an overseas, English-language paper/Web service

About the School

FGV: University of West Florida

The University of West Florida is a creative, student-centered state institution focused on excellence. At UWF, our highest priorities are our students and the academic programs that serve them. The faculty, staff and students at UWF are not here to merely do what's been done before. Individual attention from a world-class faculty in a warm and caring environment is the essence of UWF. Our mission is to empower each individual we serve with knowledge and opportunity to contribute responsibly and creatively to a complex world.

The University of West Florida, with campuses in Pensacola and along the Emerald Coast of Northwest Florida, is one of the region's prized resources. UWF is a member of the State University System of Florida.

Theodore R. and Vivian M. Johnson Scholarship Foundation has partnered with the University of West Florida to assist First Generation students at the university. The Johnson Scholarship Foundation has pledged $100,000, over five years, to challenge others to support First Generation Scholarships at UWF.

Gifts to the First Generation Scholarship are also currently matched 100% by the State of Florida First Generation Matching Grant Program. For more information about the gifts, visit the following website.

Here are the statistics for First Generation Scholarships at UWF:

2006 - 2007
337 students
Total awarded $327,832.87 (half gifts & half state match)

2007 - 2008
293 students
Total awarded $287,904.00  (half gifts & half state match)

2008 - 2009
427 students
Total awarded $390,000.00  (half gifts & half state match)

2009 - 2010
267 students
Total awarded $390,000.00  (half gifts & half state match)

The number of students is the number used as net addition to our total number of students receiving awards from all UWF Foundation scholarships. Some of the First Generation recipients also receive other scholarships through the UWF Foundation.

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