Alabama REALTORS® Foundation Scholarship Recipients
June 13, 2022
A dozen Alabama students will benefit from scholarships awarded through the Alabama Association of REALTORS® Education Scholarship Fund, a branch of the Alabama REALTORS® Foundation. The Foundation Trustees reviewed dozens of anonymous applications to select the first ever scholarship fund recipients. From the Gulf coast to Huntsville, students with high aspirations were selected based on their academic performance, recommendations and essays. All are Alabama residents and are either children or grandchildren of active, licensed REALTOR® members in good standing. “These scholarships reflect our Association's commitment to provide a better quality of life for our members, their families and our state,” said AAR President Wes Grant. You can learn more about the Education Scholarship Fund eligibility and application criteria here.
Meet our Inaugural AAR Education Scholarship Fund recipients for 2022:
“My high school principal taught us to have confidence and be determined in achieving our goals.”
Joe Champagne’s family will soon have three children in college at the same time. With plans to major in interior design at Auburn University, Champagne says his parents have prepared him to work hard to succeed. The son of a REALTOR® and a basketball coach, Champagne helped his mother as she worked with families to find their dream homes and, with his siblings, watched his father mold young men into athletes and good people. “We learned the importance of community service, respect for those who came before us, and compassion,” he said.
After his years at Auburn, Champagne hopes to follow his aunt’s example and work in interior design. As for the future, “I plan to have my own interior design firm and work across the globe.”
REALTOR® Sponsor: Anna Champagne
“I will continue to apply the same diligence to my collegiate studies as I have to this point, making education and service to others my top priority.”
Kyleigh Hammock is considering becoming a REALTOR® like her mother, or a salon owner. She will attend Southern Union Community College this fall studying business. “I chose Southern Union because it’s a small school and close to Auburn. I chose business,” Hammock said, “because one day I would like to own a business.”
Hammock’s mother and grandfather have advised and encouraged her. "My mother has made many sacrifices over the years to allow me to focus on my education and continues to encourage me to never give up. My grandad taught me to overcome adversity and never back down from a challenge.”
REALTOR® Sponsor: Brittany Hammock
“I am going to be an amazing teacher and (hopefully) an amazing mother.”
Observing a pre-kindergarten class while in high school led Sarah Kimbrough to choose elementary education over law school. The Troy University freshman loves children, worked in a nursery and babysat but hadn’t considered education until her high school teacher, Carol Chambers, encouraged her and became her role model. “She exemplified what I would imagine a perfect teacher to be, and I hope to be even half as wonderful a teacher as she is,” Kimbrough said.
Kimbrough’s dream job would be teaching in Baldwin County. “The school systems here are amazing and I would be honored to teach back in my hometown.” Until then, she looks forward to calling Troy home because of its education program and small-town atmosphere.
Knowing there will be many changes ahead, Kimbrough said she relies on advice from her father, a REALTOR®, who told her to “never settle.” She explained that his advice can apply in many ways. “It crosses my mind anytime I need to reassess a situation.”
REALTOR® Sponsor: John David Kimbrough
“In 20 years, I’m going to be a cardiothoracic surgeon, in either Birmingham or Atlanta, preparing to run for governor or the United States Senate.”
Ethan Laney is an Auburn freshman with a clearly defined goal in specialized medicine and also with an eye for the business side of a medical practice. “I chose to accompany my major with a business minor so that I could be well educated on how a business works and potentially open my own practice one day,” Laney explained. He is majoring in microbiology, pre-med and is enrolled in a pre-health orientation course.
Pre-med students are encouraged to shadow physicians and volunteer in clinics during the summer, Laney said, which is a requirement for medical school. He has worked during the summer to help with college expenses, so the scholarship will allow him to log the hours he needs shadowing doctors.
REALTOR® Sponsor: Leanne Laney
“When given the opportunity, I have and will always choose to help others.”
Auburn University freshman, Jackson Miller, knows the Auburn Creed and uses it as a framework for his academic and career plans. Citing the creed’s emphasis on hard work and servant leadership, Miller will major in industrial and systems engineering.“Manufacturing a product or creating a great user experience may seem inconsequential in the betterment of humanity,” he explained. “But each step I take to impact someone’s life positively is a step towards making the world a better place.” Miller’s parents and grandparents are licensed REALTORS® and, he said, they inspired him to make a difference in people’s lives. He credits his parents' help in identifying industrial engineering as his major.
Miller would love to work for Tesla Motors or Boeing after earning his degree. “I’m a huge Tesla nerd and know all things Tesla,” he said. “Boeing is another option I’ve considered because they have a great presence in my home town and are well respected.” In 20 years, he hopes to be happily married with a thriving career and, hopefully, made an impact on the world in some way.
REALTOR® Sponsor: Leah Miller
“Since I was eight years old, I have dreamed of becoming a biomedical engineer.”
For Cole Roberts, selecting a college was easy. “The University of Alabama in Birmingham is the only college in Alabama that offers a program that will allow me to achieve my goal.” Roberts says his lifelong goal has been to make durable and more efficient prosthetic devices while making them cheaper and more readily available to the world.” The son of two REALTORS®, Roberts said he’s “always been taught to make the world a better place by being in it, and this is the way I’ve always envisioned doing it.” He also credits his parents with instilling in him and his sisters a strong work ethic. Roberts says he plans to work while in college.
Roberts has a work history many freshmen would envy. He helps his parents by piloting a drone to film aerial shots of their real estate listings and edits them for promotional videos. Using a 3-D printer, he already has designed prototypes for prosthetic devices and taught himself computer assisted drafting (CAD).
REALTOR® Sponsors: Heather Roberts & Randy Roberts
“I know the meaning of hard work.”
Matt Reeves had to work hard to overcome an undiagnosed learning disorder called dysgraphia which, he explained, is a written expression disorder. Once the disorder was identified in the sixth grade, Reeves, his family and teachers worked toward solutions which enabled him to overcome challenges he faced in the classroom. Today, he’s an incoming freshman at the University of Alabama in Huntsville where he plans to pursue a degree in business finance. “After learning about the economy and how the world works with money, I was hooked. It is fascinating to me. My best subject is math,” Reeves said. “I think that is because numbers just make sense.”
Looking into the future, Reeves sees himself as a business owner with multiple property holdings…and a dog by his side.
REALTOR® Sponsor: Janet S. Hamm
“I feel that finding ways to put myself through college will result in a more satisfying experience and better education.”
Clara Ryan had lots of post-graduation options. The recent Montgomery Academy graduate was accepted to attend Auburn University, the University of South Alabama and Penn State University. After a campus tour, she recently decided the University of South Alabama is the best place for her where she will major in engineering. “I like to problem solve,” said Ryan, “and there’s always learning involved in this field.” Her favorite high school subjects were environmental science, advanced placement chemistry and advanced placement literature. “Though it was a challenging curriculum, I maintained an A average in all three classes,” she said. Ryan acknowledged that engineering courses also will be tough. “It isn’t easy, but I think I can pull it off.”
Long-range expectations are not yet clear for Ryan, but she believes that, wherever she may be, she will be living her best life.
REALTOR® Sponsor: Pamela Ryan
“Embrace the truth; fulfill your calling; and live courageously.”
Auburn roots run deep in Trey Schlemmer’s family. His grandparents, parents, and several siblings attended and he plans to carry on the family tradition when he begins a pre-business curriculum later this year. Schlemmer says he’s leaning toward majoring in finance with a goal of working in the real estate after graduation. “I have a passion for the real estate industry,” he said. “My plan is to start out as an agent, then broker and, eventually, own a real estate agency.”
Schlemmer credits his father for influencing his academic and career goals. “My dad works in real estate, and I get to see first-hand everyday how much he loves his job.” When asked where he sees himself in 20 years, Schlemmer replied, “I am going to be the leader of a Christian household that actively pursues Christ daily, a leader in my community and excelling in both my career and financially.”
REALTOR® Sponsor: Norman Schlemmer Jr.
“I truly believe in this field your hands are your ministry.”
The impact of nurses was brought home to Brynna Smith when her dad faced a serious illness. “I want to make a difference in people’s lives like nurses did with my dad,” she said. “That’s what influenced me to choose nursing.” Smith looks forward to becoming a registered nurse and, perhaps, pursuing a master’s degree. Her dream job would be working as a travel nurse. “I love to travel and would love it even more if I got to help people along the way.”
An outstanding nursing program combined with an emphasis on faith led Smith to choose Samford University. “Everyone there wants you to succeed.” She admits that time management may be a challenge. “I love saying yes to things, but that can spread me pretty thin. I am trying to commit only to things I really love.”
Smith credits her dad’s advice with helping her though stressful times. “He frequently reminds me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) and am called to love people with the love Christ bought for me."
REALTOR® Sponsor: Chantelle Coleman Smith
“Life is special and we cannot take it for granted; this is only our 'temporary home.'”
Lucas Smith is part of a close-knit family, the middle son of three boys. “You can say that I look up to the older one,” he explained, “and understand that I am influential to the younger one.” To remain close to home, Smith plans to attend Auburn University though his major is undecided and he initially will be in an exploratory curriculum. Smith’s older brother, an Auburn graduate, is in medical school. Smith says his brother’s hard work in medical school has prompted him to think about what career he will be content with after college.
Smith’s mother encouraged him and offered what he considers the best advice: “She and my family have told me that I can do anything in life if I am dedicated and willing to work towards it.” Smith says he looks forward to making his mother proud. “I have learned that I am responsible for my actions and many times these actions speak louder than words,” he said.
REALTOR® Sponsor: Shelley Arant
“The ability to speak, discuss, and advocate for yourself and your education is of utmost importance.”
Greer Wilson may be on the sidelines, but only because she knows that’s where the action is. Planning to major in communications at the University of Alabama, Wilson started preparing for a communications career in high school by working as a sideline reporter at football and basketball games, as encouraged by her high school principal. “That is what sparked my interest in a career in sports broadcasting.” She aspires to become a sideline reporter, news anchor, or maybe pursue law. She says she hopes to change the way people view the media.
Whatever she chooses, Wilson expects to be a leader and is excited about her future.
REALTOR® Sponsor: Lindsey Hallman Wilson