GSK presents college scholarships to Triangle Region, NC students who have overcome adversity to pursue their dreams

Issued: Research Triangle Park, NC

WHAT

Media representatives are invited to GSK to attend a special event honoring the 2017 winners of the GSK Opportunity Scholarship program. GSK Opportunity Scholarships are awarded to Triangle residents who have overcome significant adversity and are changing their lives through higher education. Recipients receive up to $20,000 for tuition, books and other educational expenses. The scholarship was established with the Triangle Community Foundation in 1988 through a GSK endowment.

WHEN

The scholarships will be presented Tuesday, June 20, at 12:00p.m. by Jill McConnell, Vice President Finance US, GSK. Scholarship recipients will be available for interviews following the brief ceremony or upon request.

WHERE

GSK, 5 Moore Drive, US Pharmaceuticals Building, RTP, NC 27709-3398

Please note: We request that all reporters interested in attending the event contact Marti Skold-Jordan at: marti.x.skold-jordan@gsk.com or at 919-328-0507.

WHO

Davian Robinson was born 3 months premature and faced developmental challenges.  A retina surgery was performed days after Davian was born and at 7-years-old, his retina was detached during surgery, leaving him blind in his left eye. At 11, a cataract was removed from his right eye, disabling the little vision he had remaining. Davian attended Governor Morehead School for the Blind from the age of 12 where he learned Braille.  He has his associate degree from Wake Technical College. He is pursuing a bachelor’s degree at the University of North Carolina Charlotte, majoring in exercise science and is training to represent the U.S. in para-cycling at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

Hannah Wilkins was diagnosed in the second grade with Auditory Processing Disorder (APD), a neurological disorder that affects the rate at which she processes information. School was difficult for Hannah until she cultivated her first petri dish in the eighth grade and found an unusual friend, science. Hannah immersed herself in science, reading virology textbooks and studying medical school flashcards. Her grades in other subjects and her confidence began to soar. Hannah is enrolled at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, pursuing a Bachelor of Science in biology with a concentration in microbiology.

Tia Joyce grew up in an unstable home often marked with empty refrigerators and dirty clothes. At the age of 10, Tia often took on the responsibility of feeding, bathing, and dressing her younger sisters. Tia excelled in academics and graduated from high school where she maintained a 4.8 GPA. Tia went on to graduate from Meredith College with a B.S. in Biology, a B.A. in Chemistry, and a B.A. in Psychology. Going to the dentist was never an affordable option for Tia, but after experiencing several complications with her teeth while in college, a local dentist agreed to help her despite her financial hardships. Tia’s goal is to become a dentist with the hopes of impacting disadvantaged communities and working in volunteer clinics. While in undergrad, Tia served several times in Dentistry from the Heart and Missions of Mercy volunteer clinics. Each experience further ignited her passion to serve her community. Tia is now studying to attain her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

Aja White struggled with teen dating violence and domestic abuse which left her with anxiety and PTSD. She excelled academically knowing that pushing herself and getting good grades would help her move on from her past. Aja graduated as the valedictorian of her high school class. Aja will not let her past define her future. She plans to use her education to pursue a career in public policy and advocacy. Aja attends the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill working toward a double major in Media and Strategic Communications and Public Policy. 

Theresa Holmes has suffered through poverty while raising two children as a single mother. Theresa overcame substance abuse and enrolled in college as a way of changing her life and the lives of her children. She aspires to help others in her community and works part time at a food pantry and volunteers at Book Harvest, Meals on Wheels and in community gardens. She is studying to complete her Associate in Applied Science Degree in Paralegal Technology at Durham Technical Community College.

About GSK – GSK is one of the world’s leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies – is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer.