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SIU incoming freshman wins free fall tuition through Bryson Future Scholars Program

Shania Davis
Provided by Christie Mathis
SIU News

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Shania Davis not only got a jumpstart on her college education by participating in the Dr. Seymour Bryson Future Scholars Program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale this summer. She also won free tuition for the fall semester, courtesy of a new SIU initiative.

Davis, of University Park, Illinois, was one of 50 students attending the month long Exploratory Student Advisement program for incoming freshmen in July and the first to receive a scholarship. Program counselors made the selection on the basis of academics, behavior, improvement and financial need, according to Jeff McGoy, program director.

Davis said she was thrilled to be chosen.

“I was flattered,” she said. “Deep inside, I knew I was up for the challenge to win the tuition, but there were so many brilliant students. However, winning was a godsend. I didn’t know anyone else’s story, but God knew mine and knew I had the potential and the courage, and I’m so happy I won it!”

Drawn to SIU

Davis, a first-generation college student who plans to major in radiologic sciences with a specialization in diagnostic medical sonography, said she fell in love with SIU immediately when visiting with a group of students from her suburban Chicago high school.

“The community felt like home,” she said. “I felt welcome and like there was so much to offer.”

A discussion with counselors solidified her decision that SIU was her school and the place where she would become a better version of herself, she said.

Another factor in the decision-making process was access to the Bryson Future Scholars Program, which gives select freshmen an immersive, true-life college experience during the summer before they begin college. They complete 8 credit hours of university core curriculum courses, along with study table time featuring tutoring and academic coaching. They also have access to campus resources, enjoy visits from campus and community partners, participate in workshops and time management instruction and receive various other benefits.

Davis said she’s excited to get back on campus and has ambitious plans for her life.

“I can write a whole book of my story, but as of right now, I’m starting a new journey and a new story, and I’m grateful for everything and everyone who helped me along the way,” she said. “I know that one day, I’m going to be a big accomplishment that God created. My journey now will build and grow me into a better person in the future.”

In addition to focusing on her studies and extracurricular activities at SIU, she’s also going to be building her side business, Styled by Nia Kalon, expressing her creativity and talents by focusing on physical and moral beauty as she advises others with hairstyling, makeup, clothing design and other beauty and modeling-related matters.


Christi Mathis — student affairs; diversity, equity and inclusion; business and analytics; education; health and human sciences; psychological and behavioral sciences; innovation and economic development; international education.

SIU News is produced by University Communications and Marketing - 618-453-2589. Twitter: @SIUCNews
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