FAMU Announces 2023-2024 David E. and Mary J. Pollard Scholarship Recipient

January 30, 2024
Pollard Scholarship recipient Joshua Pierre-Louis
Pollard Scholarship recipient Joshua Pierre-Louis

Being a first-generation student of Haitian descent, moving seven-hours away to Florida A&M University (FAMU) was no easy feat for Joshua Pierre-Louis. The senior computer engineering student struggled to receive financial assistance from his family in South Florida. 

Pierre-Louis’s route to graduation should be smoother now that he received  the David E. and Mary J. Pollard Scholarship. 

This year, Pierre-Louis received the Pollard Scholarship, which pays $3,750 for the fall and $3,750 for the spring semesters. 

“I can say that I’ve been blessed with family who taught me core values that have gotten me through my tenure at FAMU,” said Pierre-Louis. “Every year I try to apply for as many scholarships as possible, and one of my primary sources is the FAMU Foundation. When I saw the David E. and Mary J. Pollard Scholarship, I immediately felt connected to the opportunity,” said Pierre-Louis, who aspires to become a software developer or a data analyst.  

The late David E. and Mary Pollard made a gift agreement with FAMU to help students in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and teacher education programs.  This is the fifth consecutive year that a senior student has been awarded the scholarship.    

Stephanie L. Foster, Ph.D., the Pollards’ daughter, has continued her parents’ legacy by annually collaborating with the Division of University Advancement team to read the compelling stories from each applicant.   

“My parents believed that students earnest enough to excel in higher education are deserving of the means to do so,” said Foster. “Accordingly, we created the David E. and Mary J. Pollard Scholarship to fund the senior year of tuition for exceptional FAMU STEM and Teacher Education scholars.”   

The Pollards wanted to help senior students from South Florida who had a passion to graduate but were experiencing a lack of financial support.  

Mary J. Pollard worked several jobs at the same time just to save enough money for tuition. David E. Pollard became her favorite tutor. Together the determined couple graduated from FAMU, and decades later, retired as beloved and honored South Florida educators.  

Each year, Foster is excited to meet the recipients who, like her parents, have STEM and or Teacher Education backgrounds. She believes that the critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making skills that her parents gained during their FAMU experience anchored their service as pillars within their families, various communities, and the nation.   

Sasha Wright, the inaugural winner of the Pollard Scholarship in 2019, earned her master’s degree in nursing and now works as a chronic disease specialist. Last year’s winner, Zaire Johnson, completed her bachelor’s degree and is now studying at the Howard University College of Dentistry. 

Pierre-Louis wants to encourage fellow students to be their authentic selves through their submission letters, responses and interviews when applying for scholarships.  

“Apply for as many scholarships as you can, even the ones where the criteria may not be applicable because you may be the one person that happened to apply and receive the scholarship,” said Pierre-Louis. “Winning the Pollard scholarship has honestly been a blessing. It is reassuring to know that there are people in my corner who are unconditionally rooting for me and that there are spaces in my field where I am accepted for who I am.”  

Students can apply for the David E. and Mary J. Pollard Scholarship by logging onto the University’s scholarship portal at famuscholarships.com. The portal is now open for the 2024-2025 academic year until October 2024.