College of Education > News and Publications > 2015: 04-06 news > College of Education student Samantha Reid earns merit scholarship award

College of Education student Samantha Reid earns merit scholarship award

Secondary social studies major honored with John D. O'Bryant National Think Tank award for black professionals in higher education on predominantly white campuses.
College of Education student Samantha Reid earns merit scholarship award

Samantha Reid

Secondary social studies major honored with John D. O'Bryant National Think Tank award for black professionals in higher education on predominantly white campuses.

Samantha Reid
Samantha Reid
Penn State College of Education student Samantha Reid has earned a merit scholarship from the John D. O’Bryant National Think Tank for Black Professionals in Higher Education on Predominantly White Campuses (JDOTT).

Reid, from Larchmont, New York, is a secondary social studies major about to enter her senior year. She has a double minor in history and African American studies. The scholarship amount was $500.

The award was named for O’Bryant, the first African American to be appointed as a vice president at Northeastern University in Boston, and established as a testimony to his efforts in assist black students.

“I believe I have flourished thus far in my collegiate journey because I am determined to stand out,’’ Reid said. “I pride myself on my unwavering appearance on the Dean's list. All that I have set out to be, I have accomplished.

"These goals included — getting accepted to Penn State, becoming a Resident Assistant, studying abroad in Nicaragua, Mexico, and Ghana, and becoming the president of an organization whose mission it is to increase diversity on campus.’’

Reid was nominated for the award by Scott Metzger, an associate professor in social studies education.

“It was an honor to write a recommendation for Samantha to receive the JDOTT Merit Scholarship,’’ Metzger said. “She was a very thoughtful and active voice in my social studies methods course.

“Her commitment to education shines through when you interact with her. Samantha does a great job representing Penn State as a student leader, and I think she will continue to do great service in the teaching profession. I was thrilled to learn she received the award, as I think she really embodies its spirit.”

Reid said one of the requirements for the application was to write an essay explaining the role of a black scholar in the 21st century.

“The prompt rocked my brain for the longest time but when I considered my experiences having grown up in a predominantly white community and my decision to attend a predominantly white institution, the words came naturally,’’ Reid said.

“Reflecting on my experiences as one of few African American students in my high school, my time spent was not very hard because my parents taught me that my opportunities were limitless, that I was no different from my peers, and that I could do all things through Christ. However, I had to be aware of the stereotypes associated with my skin color and had to live with a greater consciousness of all that encompassed.’’

Reid said she did not change to accommodate anyone but disciplined herself to take academics seriously, speak articulately and be ambitious.

“I always took it upon myself to defy stereotypes and encouraged other black scholars in my essay to become ‘beacons of light among the dark shadows of ignorance’ in order to be successful and memorable,’’ she said.

“I feel fortunate to have such a strong support system that helped start my college career and will help me conclude it,’’ Reid said.

“I would like to thank the JDOTT Merit Scholarship for awarding me this scholarship and recognizing my hard work as well as the College of Education that has taught me various skills that I will implement as I aspire to become an effective educator.’’

By Jim Carlson (May 2015)