Life gets better lives up to its name for student leader
The Life Gets Better Scholarship (“Scholarship “) has been a life changer for many hundreds of students attending Florida A & M University. Considered one of the nation’s unique scholarships, it rewards high school graduates for their exceptional and consistent academic performance rather than financial need. Three decades ago however, the concept was considered undoable. Educational leaders scoffed at the idea of a historically Black university competing for top scholars.
“My colleagues used to always tell me you cannot recruit a kid like Justin he’s going to go to the white schools,” said scholarship founder and former FAMU President, Fred Humphries. “I don’t believe that I think you have to have the right programs in place and get your thoughts together about why it would be important for him to come to FAMU.”
For nearly 30 years the Scholarship has played a major part in producing engineers, doctors, lawyers, corporate executives, scientists, college professors and many more professionals of color. By removing the financial burden that normally derails a college education, the scholarship relieves the stress and strain that normally overwhelms families.
Justin Bruno, a junior computer engineering student from Orlando Fla., is one of the current FAMU students who has benefitted tremendously from the scholarship.
“The Life Gets Better Scholarship actually has made the impact the name is coined after, it has actually changed my life,” Bruno said. “Now I don’t have to worry about paying back student loan or putting a strain on my mother to pay back the money that it cost to go to school.”
Another major advantage was the fact that Bruno did not have to get a job his and work his way through school. This allowed him to focus on his studies maintaining a 3.7 GPA while at the same time serving in student government as the Student Body Vice President.
Bruno shows his appreciation of the scholarship by being totally immersed and involved in the university culture. He is a member of the University Housing Annual Rental Rate Review Committee, FAMU-FSU Chapter of National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and Organization & Finance Committee where he serves as a Chairman.
With two years to go in his undergraduate studies, Bruno is unsure of what the future holds. He does know he wants to make a difference in his com-munity.
“I’m a big believer in letting God take me wherever he wants me to be,” Bruno said. “I do know in some way I will probably be involved in community affairs or activism.”
Bruno knows that if it weren’t for people like Frederick S. Humphries, he might have never had the opportunities FAMU has presented to him. And he never takes that fact for granted.
“He (Humphries) was on to something great, I’m not sure if he realized how much of an impact what he came up with was going to make in the lives of people like me,” said Bruno. “I think it’s something he can be proud of, and I’m very grateful for it.”
The Life Gets Better Scholarship is designated for incoming freshmen who are National Achievement, Hispanic, or Merit semifinalists by the National Merit Corporation, with intent to major in biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, environmental science, mathematics or physics, and have met the GPA and test score requirements. Students who earn the scholarship will receive the following over four years: tuition and fees (in-state rate only), room, board, books, $500 per semester stipend, internships and a laptop.
To learn more about more the Life Gets Better and other FAMU scholarships visit www.famu.edu.