Wednesday, April 22, 2009
“I am so stunned right now,” said Kirsten Pratt, a sophomore business management major at SC State University. “I am just so excited,” she continued. Pratt was recently named a Geico Achievement Award winner, and her excitement went into high gear after she received her $1,000 check from Geico representative, Deborah Lipsey.
Lipsey was excited too. As a plaza human resources manager for Geico, Lipsey has been with the company for 20 years, and her pleasure is giving back to her alma mater, SC State University. Lipsey says, “I haven’t gone so far that I don’t know where I came from. If I can help one student get through the process, then I feel great.”
This year, Pratt was that student Geico decided to assist by awarding her a $1,000 scholarship. Pratt was one of eight students chosen from a nationwide pool of applicants. The remaining seven awardees are from Claflin University, the University of Maryland, American University, and Pennsylvania State University. In order to receive the Geico Achievement Award, students must be in their sophomore or junior year. They are required to complete an application, submit letters of recommendation, and focus on their involvement on campus and in the community. A panel consisting of four individuals including recruiters and staff development employees rank each applicant, choosing a winner after an average score is tallied.
Lipsey says that Pratt was an easy choice for the panel. “Kirsten is very involved on campus and in community service. We look for people who are involved. Plus, her writing flowed. There were no errors, and her letters of recommendation were really good. I can see why she was chosen,” said Lipsey.
Pratt’s involvement in community activities stems from her love of leadership. “Leadership is in me,” says Pratt. “I have to be involved.” This love of leadership has resulted in Pratt’s involvement with the Boys and Girls Club. She is also a member of the Honors Program, the Orangeburg Presbyterian Student Association, and she is an advertising committee manager for The Collegian, SC State’s student newspaper. Pratt previously worked with the campus activities board and the United Voices of Christ, and her active involvement in the community and with on-campus organizations did not hinder her academic progress. She continues to maintain a 3.8 grade point average.
Joseph Thomas, interim director of the Career Center, beams when students like Pratt are selected for awards such as the Geico Achievement Award. “I’m very excited,” said Thomas. “It shows the commitment level that we have not only with our alumni but with corporations wanting to at least give back to our students. I am also very appreciative of Ms. Deborah Lipsey for affording our students that opportunity.”
According to Lipsey, Geico will continue to work with SC State University, giving students an opportunity for financial support and to be trained through co-ops and internships with the company. In October 2007, business major Bernice Bellamy received the Geico Achievement Award. Senior Sade Morris-Hinton was also afforded a great opportunity with Geico. Morris-Hinton was last year’s recipient of the Geico internship, and she will begin working in a full-time capacity with Geico after her graduation in May 2009.
Pratt says that she can see a future with Geico too. “Geico seems very stable,” she says, “and I like their commercials.” This Savannah, Ga native says that her aspirations include obtaining a career in quality assurance. In the meantime, Pratt will use her $1,000 to purchase books for next semester and to help her plan for an even more successful future.
For more information contact the Career Development Center at 536-7033.