Waitlisted at Duke, Accepted to Yale: How One Fayetteville Student Landed the Opportunity of a Lifetime

In 2014, one of Coweta-Fayette EMC’s Melissa Segars scholarship recipients suddenly found he was bound for Yale University. Michael Johnson, then a Senior at Whitewater High School in Fayetteville, applied for the Melissa Segars Memorial Scholarship for Outstanding Community Service after hearing about it from his mother. Johnson, already dedicated to serving his community, participated in QuestBridge, which is a matchmaking-type service that pairs high-achieving, low-income students with elite colleges around the nation. Johnson wanted to go to Duke, but when Duke waitlisted him, he was convinced he would study at University of Georgia instead. What he didn’t expect to see was his mother in the doorway, holding a large acceptance packet from Yale. “I honestly kind of forgot about it,” he said of applying to Yale. After the initial excitement, he thought about Yale’s “really big sticker price tag.”

That was where Coweta-Fayette EMC’s Melissa Segars scholarship came in. Yale offered Johnson a good financial aid package, but having the Melissa Segars scholarship “helped with the anxiety of the transition.” The extra $3,000 award covered costs that other financial aid did not.

Fast forward to 2017, Johnson, a senior double-majoring in mechanical engineering and psychology, is active on campus. He does new student outreach for Yale’s Afro-American Cultural Center; is a part of the Student Activities Committee; the Black Men’s Union; and serves as a first-year counselor helping to mentor new students.

When Johnson graduates, he would like to use his engineering and psychology for human-centered work in tech fields. He is interested in Human Resources and recruiting as well as human-centered design.

Victoria Domaleski, a Georgia State University student studying Early Childhood Education, received a Melissa Segars scholarship in 2017. “I’m paying for college on my own,” she said. Receiving the Melissa Segars scholarship allows Domaleski to focus more on her studies rather than worrying about paying for her school expenses.

Frances Pass, a culinary arts student at Southern Crescent Technical College, applied for the Technical scholarship two years ago and did not receive it. However, persistence paid off—she succeeded on her second try this past year, and she said it is “really a blessing to be able to have the scholarship.”

Graduating seniors who attend high school in the CFEMC service area and who plan to attend an accredited college or university in the United States are eligible to apply for our Melissa Segars Scholarship. Future or current students of West Georgia Technical College or Southern Crescent Technical College who live in the CFEMC service area may apply to the Technical Scholarship. We also offer the Walter Harrison Scholarship through the Georgia Electrical Membership Corp. (GEMC).

Coweta-Fayette EMC selects dozens of recipients for these scholarships each year with the applications due February 1, 2018. Both the Technical and Melissa Segars Scholarships have been updated to an online format accessible through https://utility.org > My Community > Schools > Scholarships.

By joining Coweta-Fayette EMC’s Operation Round Up program, your donation will assist local charities and keep these scholarship programs funded. All you have to do is call Coweta-Fayette EMC at 770-502-0226 or email Customer Service at custservice@utility.org and let us know you want to round your bill to the next dollar amount for charitable causes. Members can also enroll through the online portal by clicking “Pay My Bill” on Coweta-Fayette’s main website and accessing the Round Up section under the Services tab.

Melissa Segars scholarship recipient Michael Johnson forgot about applying to Yale until he got the acceptance letter in the mail. He is now a Senior.