Smithfield Library Branch Manager Awards $500 STEM Scholarship

Leaders of Excellence and Smithfield Branch Manager award STEM scholarship
Proud moments from the Leaders of Excellence fair. Photo from Leaders of Excellence.

This past Saturday, February 28, Leaders of Excellence hosted a fair in the Central Library's Grand Reading Room. Leaders of Excellence provides services to assist at-risk youth and young adults between ages 13—24, including awarding scholarships to a few participants.

Crowd at the Leaders of Excellence fair at Central Library
Leaders of Excellence help young adults prepare for the future. Photo from William Anthony.

Students and young professionals talked with different universities and organizations to pursue their academic and professional goals at the fair. Leaders of Excellence formed to help young people transition into adulthood, feeling prepared instead of overwhelmed by new stresses and expectations. 

And the Birmingham Public Library's Smithfield Library had the opportunity to be a part of that support system. Smithfield Branch Manager Sequoria Lewis awarded Huffman High School student Michael Wicks with a $500 academic scholarship.

Smithfield Branch Manager awarding STEM scholarship to Michael Wicks
Smithfield Branch Manager Lewis and Michael Wicks pose together with the STEM scholarship. Photo from Sequoria Lewis.

Sequoria Lewis shared her gratitude:  

Thank you to Ms. Knox for allowing me the opportunity to partner with her organization. My passion for education birthed a perpetual aspiration to seek opportunities to give back to youth in surrounding communities in hopes to encourage a pursuit of higher education...I know firsthand how the prospect of mounting financial obligations could deter a person from the pursuit of higher education. The awarding of this scholarship hopes to lessen anxiety of parents and students.

Spending Time Elevating Minds Scholarship (STEM)

Established in 2019, the Spending Time Elevating Minds Scholarship is a private academic scholarship birthed from a love of education that Sequoria Lewis has. The S.T.E.M scholarship was created to encourage countless students who may be discouraged from seeking higher education because of disproportionate financial resources.

This $500 award is given to a deserving high school student in the Jefferson/ Tuscaloosa County area whose aspirations are in science, technology, engineering, or math. The scholarship is awarded once a year in June. 

A panel of judges chooses a winner who successfully submits an application, their plan to pursue an undergraduate degree in one of these areas, and a 250-word essay explaining why they would be best deserving of the award. The student would receive the award upon admission to the college/university of choice.

By Sequoria Lewis | Branch Manager, Smithfield Branch Library