Northeast State alumna Merissa Brickey has won the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship awarded to two-year college students pursuing a bachelor’s degree.
“It is a huge honor to receive this scholarship,” says Brickey, of Kingsport.
She is one of only 60 scholarship recipients chosen from more than 780 applications submitted to the Foundation from two-year colleges around the country. The scholarship’s value is up to $30,000 annually. The award covers a student’s expenses – including tuition, living expenses, books and required fees – for the final two to three years necessary to achieve a bachelor’s degree.
It is no stretch to say Brickey knows the value of an education, and of life. On Valentine’s Day 2007 while a high school junior and straight-A student, she suffered severe injuries in an automobile accident. She spent two and a half weeks in a coma at an area hospital before being transferred to a rehabilitation hospital in Atlanta. She later spent three more months of rehabilitation as her family struggled to deal with the emotional toll and costs of her care. The layoff didn’t slow her down – she graduated as valedictorian of her class.
Brickey enrolled at Northeast State through the College’s high school articulation program. She earned an impressive 3.87 grade point average while pursuing her associate degree in Industrial Drafting Design. She graduated magna cum laude this spring culminating her remarkable recovery.
“Coming here before I left high school definitely helped me achieve the dreams I had,” she says. “I don’t think I would have been able to on my own like I have here.”
Brickey plans to attend East Tennessee State University this fall and major in construction project management. However, the new scholarship has given her reason to reconsider her options.
“No matter what life throws at you, don’t give up your dreams,” she said. “It might take a bit longer than you planned and you may have to take a detour, but it can still be achieved.”