Ten students from Georgia State University’s Perimeter College have been named semifinalists for the 2023 Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. The Jack Kent Cooke award is a competitive scholarship for the nation’s top two-year college students. It provides recipients with up to $55,000 per year, placing the scholarship among the largest private awards in the country for community college transfer students. The following is a profile of one of Perimeter’s ten semifinalists. They are among 459 semifinalists selected from more than 1,700 applicants attending 215 community colleges in 38 states.
ATLANTA—After graduating from high school in 2015, at the top of her class and early, Tierra Grant took time to rediscover herself. This process included working and excitedly traveling to places like Canada—although she’d scarcely ventured beyond the small city where she’d grown up in metro Atlanta.
Grant, 25, also had to deal with the fallout from a bad relationship that eventually led to a hospital stay. This, she says, compelled her to peel back layers of trauma caused by emotional and physical abuse.
“I’ve had a very interesting mental health journey,” she said, noting that she has seen lots of improvement over the past several years.
Grant now sees herself as a champion of sorts to help other young people who, like her former self, are having to navigate mental illness issues, alone. It’s a big reason that she decided to enroll as an online student studying psychology at Georgia State University’s Perimeter College.
It’s also a story that the Honors College student shared with the selection committee for the Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship.
“I was shocked,” Grant said of being named a semifinalist, adding that she was especially surprised since she is an online student.
“I’m online in my room, just working. It’s kind of like this solitary experience. So, to have it recognized, it felt great.”
Grant’s success as a first-generation and online student moves her closer to her dream of becoming a psychologist who addresses the stigma of mental health in the African American community via counseling and writing. She recalls turning to the Internet and reading lots of books to deal with her own situation.
“There’s not a lot of representation and therapy and mental health resources in general for black people,” she said.
“When I learned that you could help yourself and that there are certain ways to better your life, then I started working on that.”
In addition to her love for reading and learning, Grant also enjoys crocheting blankets and clothing items like cardigans and sweaters.
“It became a little addiction during the pandemic,” Grant said laughing.
Most importantly, Grant is happy with how she now is building a life that makes her proud.
“When you choose to commit to yourself, everything works out.”
Winners of the 2023 Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship will be announced in May.
Story by Kysa Anderson Daniels
Photo by Bill Roa