Southern Company, PROPEL, Disney, and the HBCU Week Foundation announce Somalia Gilliard of Atlanta as the second recipient of a $50,000 PROPEL Student Impact Scholarship. This award is part of the $100,000 scholarship investment the partners announced in October during the first-ever HBCU Week event at Walt Disney World Resort.
Gilliard is a senior at Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy in Atlanta. She is currently ranked second in her class with a 3.9-grade point average. Gilliard is also active in extra-curricular activities; she is the president of the Student Government Association and a member of the National Honor Society, National Beta Club, dance theatre ensemble, varsity cross country, and track and field teams.
Gilliard plans to attend either Alabama State University or Florida A & M University, where she will major in chemistry. She hopes to pursue an advanced degree in dermatology then as she works toward her goal of developing an organic line of beauty products for women.
“I am blessed, thankful, and honored to receive this scholarship; it’s a dream come true,” said Somalia Gilliard. “The pressure of figuring out how to pay for college has been lifted off my family and me.”
The PROPEL Student Impact Scholarship will be paid in four equal annual installments to cover tuition and fees. Gilliard’s scholarship is the second of two provided by Southern Company in conjunction with PROPEL and its partners this year to rising HBCU students. The first recipient was Djahnel Reid of Orlando, Fla., who was honored in October during the HBCU Week college fair.
“We are honored to collaborate with our partners and recognize Somalia as the second scholarship recipient,” said Mike Anderson, senior vice president of Georgia Power and president and CEO of Georgia Power Foundation and Southern Company Charitable Foundation. “Education is a vital component of success. By alleviating affordability, one of the largest barriers to education, we are helping students achieve brighter futures.”
“We would like to extend our congratulations to Somalia on this accomplishment,” said Waymond Jackson, interim CEO of PROPEL. “It’s our aim that support such as this will help elevate HBCU scholars and push them forward to pursue their dreams.”
Southern Company is committed to advancing equity within our company and the communities we serve. One such commitment toward these goals is the company’s relationship with PROPEL. In January 2020, Southern Company, along with Apple, became founding partners of PROPEL and the PROPEL Center, a first-of-its-kind, global technology, and innovation hub that serves all 100-plus HBCUs. As part of the partnership, the Southern Company Foundation provided a $25 million investment aimed at elevating and amplifying HBCU institutions and helping create new opportunities for students to become future leaders, innovators, and trailblazers.