Past Scholars

Kiona Mason

Graduated from Renaissance High School: 2020
Expected MSU Graduation Date: 2024

Ariel Zander

Graduated from Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School: 2019
Expected MSU Graduation Date: 2023
Major:  Nursing

My name is Ariel Zander.  I was a student at Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School. I am currently involved with Black Girls Unite.  My future goals are to graduate from Michigan State University and work as a BSN/RN.  I Would also like to further my skills by working as a nurse within my community.

Simone N. McIntosh

Graduated from Renaissance High School: 2018
Expected MSU Graduation Date: 2022
Major:  Supply Chain Management

My name is Simone McIntosh.  I graduated from Renaissance High School in 2018.  I am currently a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.  My future goals are to attend law school.

Jordan Thornhill

Graduated from Renaissance High School: 2018
Expected MSU Graduation Date: 2022

George Johnson

Graduated from Walled Lake Central School: 2018
Expected MSU Graduation Date: 2022

David Young

Graduated from Cass Technical High School: 2017
Expected MSU Graduation Date: 2021
Major:  Finance

My name is David Young.  I was a honor student at Cass Technical High School. My senior year was amazing.  I got to play at Ford Field twice as an offensive lineman on a Division I Championship Football Team., received the rank of Eagle Scout, and was accepted into the Eli Broad College of Business through a new pilot program where freshmen don’t have to wait a year to apply.  Now I am a recipient of the Steve Smith Endowed Scholarship for Michigan State University students.

Receiving my championship ring, earning my Eagle rank and getting into the business college of my choice were great, but receiving the Steve Smith Endowed Scholarship is an answer to my prayers.  This scholarship will allow me focus on my academics.  My goal is to become a Certified Public Accountant.

Alicia R. Hadley

Graduated from Renaissance High School: 2017
Expected MSU Graduation Date: 2021
Major:  Psychology

I am Alicia R. Hadley.  I attended Renaissance High School in Detroit, Michigan.  I love to draw and paint.  I was an editor for the high school yearbook.  Currently, I am part of the AKA Debutante Cotillion, employed at Beyond Juice, and  a youth leader at Grace New Covenant Church.  I volunteer and organize the mind ministry.  I want to become a clinical psychiatrist.  My goal is to eventually own by own practice.

Graham Polk

Graduated from Renaissance High School: 2016
Expected MSU Graduation Date: 2020
Major: Media and Information

My name is Graham Polk and I graduated from Renaissance High School in 2016.  I was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan.  I was the Senior Class President and a member of the Varsity Baseball team.

The Steve Smith Scholarship will help me not only afford college, but will help me prepare for life by learning more about money management, and how to live an independent life.

Crystal King

Graduated from Renaissance High School: 2015Crystal King
Expected MSU Graduation Date: 2019
Major: Environmental Geography

My name is Crystal King.  I graduated from Renaissance High School in 2015.

Being the 2015 recipient of the Steve Smith Scholarship is truly an honor. This scholarship will not only benefit me financially, but it will also allow me to take full advantage of all the amazing resources that MSU has to offer. This scholarship will provide me with the motivation I need to excel in my studies and perhaps, in the future, study abroad.  I would like to thank the scholarship committee and Steve Smith for selecting me as the 2015 Recipient of the Steve Smith Scholarship.  I plan to take this opportunity and set my plans for the future in motion.

Raquel Shellman

Graduated from Pershing: 2013
Expected MSU Graduation Date: 2017
Major: Social Work

My name is Raquel Shellman. I graduated from John J. Pershing High School as Class President.  Since I have a passion to help those in dire need, I plan on majoring in Social Work. In order graduate early, I plan to attend classes year round.

Being granted the Steve Smith Scholarship has been such a blessing. I would like to thank Steve for believing in me and investing in my future.  I will go on to do great things at such profound institutions, such as MSU. This scholarship means so much to me. I plan to take advantage of every opportunity that is afforded to me.  By receiving this scholarship, I am fortunate to be among the few students who do not have to worry about tuition and expenses and can therefore concentrate on my studies. I would like to thank to the Clara Bell Smith Center and the SASS Program on making this transition as pleasant and smooth as possible. It is one of my future goals is to start a charitable fund like Steve Smith in order to give back to the community that has helped me.

Thank you Steve for keeping in contact with the past and current scholars and making sure everyone has the necessary resources to excel.

Update: In May 2017, I graduated from MSU with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work.  For the past six months, I have been pursuing my Masters in Social Work, with a concentration in Infant Mental Health, from Wayne State University.  My projected graduation date is May 2018.  After graduation, I plan to obtain a license in Social Work, with an endorsement in Infant Mental Health. I aspire to become an Infant Mental Health Specialist who promotes positive parent-infant interaction, infant development, and family centered therapy.  I am very proud to be a MSU alumna, as well as a former Steve Smith Scholarship recipient. The scholarship has allowed me to pursue my goals.

Sherronia Dorsey-Walker

Graduated from Pershing: 2012
Expected MSU Graduation Date: 2016Sherronia Dorsey-Walker-cropped
Major: Criminal Justice

Sherronia Dorsey-Walker graduated from Nolan Preparatory School of Excellence in 2008 and subsequently from John J. Pershing High School and Golightly Career and Technical Center in 2012.  Sherronia has declared Criminal Justice as her major and expects to graduate from MSU in June of 2016.

She has stated that Steve Smith has been a life saver both financially and mentally, as she can now focus on her education without the burden of worrying about tuition costs. She has always dreamed about receiving her education from Michigan State University and plans to represent this award in the best way possible while she is attending MSU. She will use her education to achieve her goal of becoming an FBI Public Affairs Officer and to open crisis centers worldwide for those in need. Sherronia wishes to thank Steve Smith for giving her the opportunity to do great things for her future, her family and her life. As she continues to learn and grow, she promises to always give back her wisdom, time and finances to the world in any way that she can.

“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” – Sir Winston Churchill

Update:  I am currently a junior at Michigan State University majoring in Criminal Justice and Social Work.  I am a Teen Room Supervisor at the Boys and Girls Club of Lansing, the coordinator of the Youth of the Year and Keystone Teen Leadership Program and the founder of Successful Sister’s Mentoring Program.  I am currently involved in many on-campus and community service projects.  In an effort to give back to all those that have helped me succeed, I have started a scholarship program to pay it forward.  My scholarship program can be viewed at:

I am so blessed that I received the Steve Smith Scholarship because it helped me financially, professionally, and academically.  The Steve Smith Scholarship opened my eyes to wanting to give back.  I am living by my motto (of giving back) and helping others every day.  I would like to give a big thank you to Steve Smith for the generous gift of hope, education and appreciation.

Dwayne Embry

Graduated from Pershing: 2014
Expected MSU Graduation Date: 2018
Major: Criminal Justice

Dwayne Embry was a 2014 Detroit Pershing graduate who was involved in the National Honor Society and was on the Detroit Pershing Basketball team. Dwayne is currently majoring in Criminal Justice and plans to have a career that allows him to be instrumental in changing his community. Dwayne aspires to attend law school and become an attorney who serves his community by mentoring youth and young men. He would like to implement a program that focuses on youth self-esteem, life skills and self-identity development. He would also like this program to instill in young children that it is okay “to stand out, be smart, be athletic, and to be a leader,” all of which is only achieved through hard work and dedication.

“I want to thank Steve Smith because without him none of this would be possible. He gave me a chance to change my life and I will try my best to live up to those expectations. The Steve Smith Scholarship has opened many doors for me and allowed me to focus only on academics, rather than on finances.”

Kyle Barden

Graduated from Pershing: 2009
Major: TelecommunicationsKyle Barden-cropped

The Steve Smith Scholarship is an outstanding scholarship that gives back to the community. By removing the burden from me and my family of  financing a college education, this scholarship has unlocked many doors that were otherwise unknown to me.

The Steve Smith Scholarship is not like other scholarships. Steve Smith keeps in touch with you to see how you are doing and motivates you to remain focused on your education. Steve Smith taught me to be “impeccable with the words, speak with integrity and to only say what you mean, to avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others, and to also use the power of your words in the direction of truth and love.”

Thank you Steve Smith for giving me the opportunity to be a Steve Smith Scholar and helping me further my education at Michigan State University. God Bless!

Update:  Kyle Barden graduated with his B.A in Media Arts and Technology in May 2015. He enjoys traveling and educating youth in the multimedia field. He currently serves as Digital Media Technician and Multimedia Coordinator at the Academy of Technology in Pontiac, Michigan. He has continued to develop his craft. He has also launched his own independent photography company.

Deon’ta Bailey

Deon'ta Bailey-Cropped

Graduated from Pershing: 2008
Expected MSU Graduation Date: 2013
Major: Business Management

I have been extremely blessed with the honor of being a recipient of the 2008 Steve Smith Scholarship.  The scholarship has helped alleviate a portion of the financial burden that college bears upon students such as myself. The scholarship has also motivated me in several ways.

First, it has motivated me to seek other scholarship opportunities and resources to continue to help the financial burdens of college. It has also motivated me to excel within my studies and not settle for less or, “do enough just to get by.”

I have tried to continue the educational opportunities that the Steve Smith Scholarship has afforded me by participating in Service Learning at MSU, where I tutor elementary students. Lastly, it has also motivated me to become a more determined individual to do whatever steps are necessary to fulfill my aspirations as an entrepreneur.

My beliefs are simple: I will walk into a business as an employee but walk out as the owner, simply because that is how determined I am to outwork other employees. Without Steve Smith and his scholarship opportunity, I know that I would not have the state of mind that I currently have. Therefore, I would like to thank Steve Smith and the many others who are involved with making the Steve Smith Scholarship possible.

“We find greatest joy, not in getting, but in expressing what we are…Men do not really live for honors or for pay; their gladness is not the taking and holding, but in doing, the striving, the building, the living. It is a higher joy to teach than to be taught. It is good to get justice, but better to do it; fun to have things but more to make them. The happy man is he who lives the life of love, not for the honors it may bring, but for the life itself.” ~R. J. Baughan.

Update:  Deon’ta Bailey is a 2013 Michigan State graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications.  He is currently pursuing a Graduate Degree in the School of Business.  He aspires to be an entrepreneur.

“I’m very thankful for being a representative of the scholarship.  It has provided me with many great opportunities and allowed me to share my story of growth and progress.  I was afforded the opportunity to speak at the 2013 Steve Smith Charity Golf Outing.  Speaking at the golf outing has allowed me to share how the scholarship has helped me personally and professionally.  It has allowed me to become a role model and a leader.  With hard work and dedication, I believe, anyone can achieve success.”

Kristopher K. Barden

Graduated from Pershing: 2011
Major: Media Arts and Technology

Being the 2011 Steve Smith scholarship recipient has been truly a blessing for me and my family. Not only is it helping me financially it’s going to help me build a relationship with Mr. Smith his team and the other recipients.

I am honored that you believe in me and that you are giving me a chance to further my education without putting my family in a financial bind. I will strive for excellence despite the obstacles and the difficulties that may be put in front of me.

Also by having someone other than my family believing in me, gives me the motivation to do better.  It also motivates me to give back to my community.  I look forward to sharing my knowledge with those following behind me.

Thank you Mr. Steve Smith for the opportunity you are giving me.

Update:  Kristopher Barden is currently serving as a Digital Mechanical Technician for Chardam Gear Company in Sterling Heights.  He is the youngest person in his position.  He has been active in pursuing his career and advancement by attending various professional training opportunities.

Shaniece BrownShaniece Brown September 2015 - Cropped

Graduated from Pershing: 2007
MSU Graduation Date: 2012
Major: Family Community Services

“Being the 2007 Steve Smith scholarship recipient has been a blessing. Not
only did it help me financially but it also gave me the opportunity to have
a relationship with Steve and his partners.

Knowing that I have someone who believes in me and is willing to assist me with anything that can benefit my success in college motivates me to want to do better. The Steve Smith Scholarship Fund also gives me the opportunity to network with the other scholarship recipients and allows them to give me advice since they have been where I am now. And I look forward to sharing my knowledge to those coming behind me.

Thanks to Steve Smith for instilling in me the importance of giving back.”

Update: I graduated in 2012 from Michigan State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Family Community Services. For the past year and a half, I have resided in Grand Rapids and work at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services as Assistant Supervisor in the adolescent residential program.  My goal has always been to work with at-risk youths, and that is exactly what I am able to do at my job.

I am planning on starting my MSW this summer.  Again, I am grateful to Steve Smith because I gained a tremendous amount of confidence in myself as the 2007 Steve Smith Scholarship recipient.  It has helped me in all aspects of my life, and has truly been a blessing.

Cydney McMillonCyndey McMillon - Cropped

Graduated from Pershing: 2006
MSU Graduation Date: 2010
Major: Telecommunication

Cydney McMillon is currently a senior at Michigan State University with an overall 3.1 GPA. She is majoring in Telecommunication with a cognate in Sociology.  When she graduates, Cydney aspires is to become a successful network administrator.

“The Steve Smith Scholarship helped me in more ways than I can imagine. This scholarship has opened up many opportunities and advantages to me that I otherwise might not have had access to. I am very blessed and grateful to be chosen as a recipient.

To know that my hard work and success in school was awarded in such a substantial way is a wonderful honor.

Not only am I being helped financially, but socially and academically as well. Steve Smith and all his partners are very helpful to me in making my college experience the best and the most victorious time in my life. I truly appreciate everything that the privilege of being a Steve Smith scholar brings to me.”

Update: Cydney McMillon graduated in 2010 from MSU with a Bachelor of Science in Media and Communication Technology. She is currently living in Charlotte, North Carolina and is working as a Technical Specialist for On24, an IT company.  She is also currently a grad student at Queens University pursing her Masters in Communication.

Cydney said: “I am very proud to be an MSU Alumna, as well as a former Steve Smith Scholarship recipient. The scholarship was very beneficial in my college career and has also helped to motivate me get to where I am today. I appreciate and look up to Steve Smith and his partners.  I admire their graciousness and their ability to give back. I hope that with my future success, I will be able to make an impact and give back to the community as well.”

Candis Quinney (McCastle)

Graduated from Pershing: 2005
MSU Graduation Date: 2009
Major: Accounting

Candis McCastle is currently a senior at Michigan State University majoring in Accounting with a 3.6 overall GPA. Candis is originally from Detroit, MI where she attended John J. Pershing High School on Detroit’s eastside.

In her senior year Candis was named the 7th recipient of the Steve Smith scholarship award. Being from a modest background, Candis was now able to pursue her dream of becoming the first member of her family to attend and graduate from college.

Being a first generation college student, Candis takes a very balanced approach to life. She is academically focused, committed to community service and very much devoted to God.

Her greatest joy comes from her work with at-risk middle school, high school and college level students; assisting them in making healthy choices socially, academically, and spiritually. Upon graduation Candis plans to pursue a career in corporate finance or public accounting.

“It is my hope that I can use my life as an example to others looking to defeat the odds and break the cycle” ~Candis McCastle

Update: Candis Quinney graduated from MSU with honors in December of 2009 with a B.A. in Accounting. Post graduation she joined the Financial Management Program within General Electric Corporation, which is a two year leadership program known for extensive professional development, being analytically rigorous and providing significant exposure to various areas of corporate finance and accounting. Candis is currently in her third rotation in the program working as a Balance Sheet Analyst for GE Energy HQ based in Atlanta, GA.

Marcus Mayberry

Graduated Pershing: 2004
Expected MSU Graduation Date: 2008
Major: Accounting

Tiffany Renee BrentTiffany R. Brent

Graduated from Pershing: 2003
Graduate from MSU: 2007
Degree Earned: B.A., Social Relations/Public Policy
Current Employer: Greater Detroit Area Health Council

As an employee of the Greater Detroit Area Health Council, Tiffany works to promote the Save Lives Save Dollars initiative, with plans to continue her education in pursuit of a juris doctorate degree (J.D.) at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law in the fall of 2009.

“When I was selected to be a Smith Scholar, I was overwhelmingly grateful at the opportunity that I had been awarded. Being a Smith Scholar has enabled to me achieve various goals. There are several advantages of being a scholar, including being positioned to obtain a tremendous amount of valuable information.

I think that the most valuable lesson that each scholar learns is by the example set by Steve Smith – you can obtain success by working hard at something you believe in, but you can become truly successful when you help enable others and giving becomes what you believe in.

I feel privileged to be a part of such a wonderful endeavor and I have nothing but sheer appreciation for Steve, his wife, family and colleagues for all of the support that they have given to help me advance to this point in my life.”

Update: I have received my law degree from the University of Detroit Mercy Law School (May, 2013). While attending law school, I was the Vice President of the Black Law Students Association, a Governing Council member of the State Bar of Michigan Law Student Section, and I served as a student mentor.

Being a recipient of the Steve Smith Scholarship has allowed me to pursue my goals.  Most recently, I was the Manager of Clinical Transformation with the Southeast Michigan Beacon Community (SEMBC), which is a federally funded grant program through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  I helped develop and implement projects using patient health navigators and community outreach workers, and I was able to interact with patients to empower them to better manage their health.  Prior to SEMBC, I was able to gain valuable experience while working with the Greater Detroit Area Health Council and as an intern for the State of Michigan House of Representatives.

In addition to my professional achievements, my biggest personal achievement is my daughter, Brielle.

Shantel L. Campbell (Holtzclaw)

Graduated from Pershing: 2002
Graduated from MSU: 2006
Degree Earned: Business Law
Current Employer: United State Department of Defense

“This scholarship gave me more than just the financial means to attend one of the greatest universities in this country. It gave me- and many others- the opportunity to challenge myself to become a better person, student, employee, and positive representative of my community. With the education I received at MSU, I have been able to continue my education as I pursue my MBA at Lawrence Tech in Southfield, MI.

Mr. Smith is a man who stands behind his name, his beliefs, and his commitment to excellence. To everyone who knows Steve, he is the epitome of giving; and I am pleased to have been blessed with the Steve Smith Scholarship.”

Update:  Shantel was the 2002 Steve Smith Scholarship recipient.  She also received the Detroit Compact Scholarship, Faygo Scholarship, Michigan First Credit Union Scholarship and Pershing’s Principal’s Award Scholarship.  After a studying abroad for a summer (2004) at the University of Brighton in Brighton, England, Shantel graduated from MSU with a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration – Prelaw in 2006.  Shantel currently works for the Department of Defense – Army in Warren, Michigan.  She completed a three-year internship as a Logistics Management Specialist, and is now a Program Analyst.  Shantel has held several positions throughout her eight years with the Department of Defense in both financial and supply chain management positions.  In 2012, Shantel received her Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, Michigan.

“None of my accomplishments came without help from others, including my family and loved ones.  Included among these are Steve Smith and his family.  From the actual scholarship funds to the tutoring services offered at MSU to the assistance received in the transition from high school to college, Mr. Smith never let us believe we were alone. Coming to a large, diverse university, such as MSU, can seem intimidating and daunting.  However, I always had a great support system in Steve and all those who were a part of the Clara Bell Smith Center.  Mr. Smith exemplifies what a role model should aim to be, and I am just grateful and blessed to have met him and been a recipient of the Steve Smith Scholarship.”

Bobby Shelley

Graduated from Pershing: 2001
Graduated from MSU: 2006
Degree Earned: B.A., Interpersonal Communications
Current Employer: Booz Allen Hamilton Inc

Bobby is currently employed as a consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. ( in Washington, DC.

“It was a true honor to be selected as the 2001 Smith Scholar. The Steve Smith Scholarship Fund was much more than a scholarship to me. It provided me with outstanding educational resources in the Clara Bell Smith Center and amazing people like Steve Smith, Liz Friedman, and Monika Hinterman who all invested in both my educational and personal success.

The scholarship challenged me in ways that helped me build character, consistency, accountability, and initiative. The Steve Smith Scholarship was truly the catalyst for change in my life and I can’t thank Steve and his partners enough for providing me the opportunity to attend Michigan State University.”

Latonja JohnsonLaTonja Johnson-Cropped

Graduated from Pershing: 2000
Graduated from MSU: 2005
Degree Earned: B.A., Food Industry Management
Current Employer: RJ Reynolds, Territory Manager

“I was the first recipient and first graduate of the Steve Smith Scholarship. I graduated from Pershing High School in 2000 and attended Michigan State University from 2000-2005. In my spare time I like reading, traveling and hanging out with my family. It has been an honor knowing Steve and I can’t thank him enough for the opportunity he gave me.”

Update: I currently reside in Detroit, MI and I work for RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company as a Territory Manager.