Zaria Jackson needed an idea for an app to pitch to her Management of Information course in the Busch School of Business and Economics. After some reflection on her own experience in applying to college, she came up with Scholar Saver, which would provide high school students with easy-to-access information about college scholarships in one place.
“It would be aimed at kids who live in inner cities,” she explains. “Students who live in suburban areas tend to have more resources when it comes to applying for scholarships than kids who live in inner cities. I want to help students find ways to apply to college without it being so overwhelming.”
The idea behind the app represents a passion for the sophomore international business major from Philadelphia. Over the last several months, she has spent some of her spare time talking to high school students about how to apply to and afford college.
Last summer, at the request of Ferentz Lafargue, director of Catholic University’s Center for Cultural Engagement, Jackson spoke to approximately a dozen high school students in her hometown at the Advocate Center for Culture and Education’s College Boot Camp.
“Catholic University opens you up to meeting new people and building networks with them.”
“Ferentz called me and asked me to speak to these students at the boot camp,” she says. “It was right down the street from where I live, so I went. They had a lot of questions about financial aid, scholarship opportunities, and overall college life.”
Back on campus, Jackson has continued to engage high school students through her job in the Center for Cultural Engagement, a place she says she feels most “at home” on campus. She reaches out to high schools to invite students to campus for a tour and Q-and-A session about college. Next spring, students from her own alma mater, Cristo Rey Philadelphia, will visit campus.
She says that speaking to high school students is a good way to give back to the community and she finds that many students relate easily to someone close to their age. Jackson tells them about her own college experience and how she found three scholarships to help fund her education.
“There are numerous grants and scholarships that you can get in order to take advantage of the opportunities college provides,” she says. And she encourages all the students she talks to to consider Catholic University.
“Catholic University opens you up to meeting new people and building networks with them. If you’re open to learning new things … then this is the school for you.”