Computer Information Systems

Scholarship buys time for professional growth

by Stephen Briggs

CIS major Austin Crouch - Roadside Lake and Mountains

From a young age, graduating CIS major Austin Crouch knew that he wanted to go to college, but he also knew that paying for it was going to be challenging. “I'm a first-generation college student,” Crouch said, “and I had to completely pay my own way.”

Crouch prepared as best he could. He finished his associate’s degree while still in high school, in order to minimize the amount of years he would have to fund his full-time college experience. But that still left him with three years to pay for, so he applied for scholarships. And applied. And applied—to 21 of them, anything and everything that was available to CoB students. Initially, he had no offers, so he worked three jobs and attended classes, hoping an opportunity would turn up.

CIS major Austin Crouch - Sitting on JMU signEventually it did. After submitting an exceptional essay about ethical business leadership, Crouch was given a Madison Award for Academic Excellence, followed by the Masterson Memorial Scholarship. Together, these paid for a good portion of his costs. Crouch was very thankful. “It covered almost a third of my entire college experience, and every single penny was donated by our strong alumni base. I couldn't ask for anything better than that.”

The funds have allowed him breathing room, not having to work three jobs in his final year of classes. A study abroad experience in Antwerp was now possible. Crouch has already been sharing his CoB enthusiasm as a JMU Student Ambassador. “Knowing a donation from a JMU alumni made such an impact during my college experience motivates me to become more active in JMU’s community, especially as an alumni. I strongly believe JMU isn’t just a four-year institution, it is a lifestyle.”

He’s headed off to a job with Deloitte after graduation, and the always-focused Crouch says he is working on “how I can make myself really stand out those first few weeks when I start my job—and as a career professional three years in, already getting the ball moving.”

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Published: Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Last Updated: Friday, March 1, 2019

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