with life's little surprises, Michelle Fleming is like many other
college students who have experienced hiccups, but find ways to
reach their goals.
she has started a scholarship for people just like her. Fleming,
an administrative assistant at The University of Southern Mississippi
Gulf Coast, has created an annual $900 scholarship she calls GOALS,
which stands for Go Over and Above Life's Surprises.
for starting this scholarship is to help students who are working
to reach their goals," said Fleming. "Being a single parent,
coupled with my experience working in financial aid, proved that
all types of students struggle to get through school. I have been
blessed with many gifts and feel that God would want me to help
single mom at age 18, planned to join the Air Force but instead
accepted sole responsibility for raising her daughter, Jolene. Fleming
said she and her daughter grew up together and made the best of
the situation. They lived paycheck to paycheck but still made it.
Her work history before joining Southern Miss Gulf Coast included
the fast food industry, factory work and clerical duties.
working at Southern Miss Gulf Coast in September 1995 as a part-time
financial aid clerk. The following August she was transferred to
full-time and remained in Financial Aid until August 1999. At that
time she went to work for the nursing program as an administrative
assistant. In January 2000, she moved into the academic adviser
position there. She remained in that position until September 2002,
when she decided to go to school full time. During that time, she
transferred to the Admissions and Records Office and worked part
time. When the administrative assistant position opened in nursing,
she decided to go back to a much quieter environment to work and
finish her degree.
taking classes at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (MGCCC)
in January 1996. She had been out of school for 15 years and decided
to begin slowly, one class at a time. The first year she spent relearning
how to be a student and sharpening her math skills. After the first
year, she started taking six credit hours each semester. More than
that wasn't an option for her because she had a teenage daughter
who was involved in sports - primarily swimming.
paid off. In May 2001, she graduated with an associate's degree
from MGCCC. She is scheduled to graduate this May with a bachelor
of science in business administration (BSBA) with an emphasis in
management information systems (MIS) from Southern Miss Gulf Coast.
taken me eight years, but my persistence has paid off," said
The first GOALS
scholarship will be awarded next fall for the 2004-05 year, which
will be in the amount of $600. Thereafter, the scholarship will
be $900 annually.
be given to a Southern Miss Gulf Coast junior or senior, enrolled
in six or more semester hours to pursue a business degree (MIS preferred,
with management as the alternative). Consideration will be given
to well-rounded students with a 2.5 or higher grade point average
rather than those who are eligible for financial aid or academic
For more information
about this scholarship and other donor/scholarship opportunities,
contact the Southern Miss Gulf Coast Development Office at (228)