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USM College of Business and Economic Development Announces 2019-20 EAGLE Scholars

Wed, 08/14/2019 - 14:52pm | By: Van Arnold

The College of Business and Economic Development at The University of Southern Mississippi recently awarded scholarships to five students for the 2019-20 academic year as part of the EAGLE Scholars Program. The students will receive $8,000 scholarships for the upcoming year.

“We are pleased to recognize these exceptional students as our 2019-2020 EAGLE Scholars,” said Dr. Bret Becton, Dean of USM’s College of Business and Economic Development. “I would like to thank our donors who have made this scholarship program possible: Hyler Bracey and Cass Flagg, Joe and Suzanne Quinlan, and Aubrey Sanford. A special thank-you to Louis and Lou Ann Poynter, who established an additional scholarship endowment for the program this year. Generosity like this will forever impact the EAGLE Scholars Program and the College of Business and Economic Development." 

Through this scholarship and leadership development program, EAGLE Scholars receive $8,000 per year, the possibility of a study abroad scholarship, and the opportunity to participate in a series of professional development programs. Scholarship recipients are selected based on several criteria, including work ethic, clear goals for the future, commitment to finish their degrees and willingness to participate in extra programs meant to enhance their collegiate experiences.

2019-20 EAGLE Scholars:

Alexis Austin, junior from Ridgeland, Miss.

  • Major: Entrepreneurship (minor nutrition)
  • Works at Chick-fil-A
  • Taking two online summer classes
  • Resident Assistant
  • Loves sports; plays intermural basketball and football
  • Member of Student Alumni Association, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Phi Beta Sigma, SISU, and Residence Hall Association
  • Volunteers at Aldersgate Daycare in downtown Hattiesburg.

“I am extremely pleased to be an EAGLE Scholar,” said Austin. “This is a great blessing and accomplishment that will allow my parents to have a relief lifted from their shoulders. I show great gratitude and am truly excited about the professional programming. I aspire to own and manage my own gym but I am very eager and anxious to learn and experience new horizons in the professional programs and other areas.

Hunter Graham, junior from Sumrall, Miss.

  • Major: Accounting
  • Interning at Robert E. Donnell III CPA
  • Attended BKD’s Summer Leadership Program in May
  • Head of Professional Activities of Delta Sigma Pi Professional fraternity and a member of the Student Christian Center.

“Being selected as an EAGLE Scholar has blessed me in numerous ways,” said Graham. “Having my hard work and dedication recognized by the College of Business and Economic Development makes my countless hours of studying even more worth the stress. The financial assistance that comes with the EAGLE Scholars program will help relieve the living costs and will also help pay for graduate school here at USM.

Lacey Wallace, senior from Jayess, Miss.

  • Major: Marketing
  • Studied abroad on both Italian Studies and British Studies
  • Serving as the Vice President of Programming for Beta Gamma Sigma
  • Completing undergraduate thesis for Honors College
  • Works on campus as a marketing intern for Kelly Dunn in the Southern Miss Image Center.

“I feel honored and especially grateful to the College of Business and Economic Development for being chosen as an EAGLE Scholar,” said Wallace. “This scholarship allowed me to focus on classwork and my other areas of campus involvement instead of worrying about finances. In addition, my receiving The EAGLE Scholar Endowment means more to me than mere financial gain. Becoming an Eagle Scholar will equip me with the skills to become a better leader, to hold myself to higher accountability, and to continue reaching my goals.”

Savannah Rheams, junior from Norwood, La.

  • Major: Healthcare Marketing
  • Member of Eagle Connection
  • Tour guide for the Office of Admissions
  • Member of SGA and serve as senator for the College of Business
  • Vice President of Public Relations for the College Panhellenic Council
  • Member of Chi Omega Fraternity; selected as a Gamma Rho Chi for the College Panhellenic Council this fall.
  • May 27 - June 17: served as a missionary intern in San Sebastián; assisted in hosting a children’s camp at the local school and also took intensive Spanish courses because she plans to minor in Spanish. She then traveled straight from Spain to Nairobi, Kenya where she participated in children’s/medical clinics until June 29.

“The gratitude I have towards the College of Business and Economic Development for even allowing this opportunity is unfathomable, and I couldn’t be more honored to be selected as an EAGLE Scholar,” said Rheams. “Being that I am a healthcare marketing major, I know I am stepping into a very competitive profession where if you aren’t the best, you aren’t good enough. Participating in this program will allow me the chance to learn the proper etiquette and skills needed to be more than successful, to be known as the best in the industry, proudly representing USM, the College of Business and Economic Development, and most importantly, the EAGLE Scholars Program.”

Elizabeth Rivera-Vega, senior from Biloxi, Miss.

  • Major: Finance and Accounting (double major)
  • Was an Eagle Scholar last year
  • Earned Associates at MGCCC (May 2017)
  • Taking summer courses
  • Working this summer as well
  • Last summer she completed an internship with Sanderson Farms as an accounting intern.

“The EAGLE Scholars program has done more than just provide a scholarship. It has allowed me to meet wonderful people that have experience in my field of study and they have made a significant impact in my college journey and career,” said Rivera-Vega. “It has also helped me prepare for life after college through mentoring and training. Financially, this scholarship has been a blessing to my family and me. It has brought peace of mind to my parents and it has allowed me to focus my time and energy into my

For more information on the College of Business and Economic Development EAGLE Scholars Program contact the USM Foundation by calling 601.266.5210 or visit: