Published on November 4, 2019 by Morgan Black  
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Pioneered in 2009, Samford’s Brock Scholars program empowers high-achieving business students to enhance and customize their education. 

Recently, new scholars were inducted into the program including Catherine Buchanan from Ft. Worth, Texas; Andrew Clark from Newburgh, Indiana; Camilla Lemons from Hoover, Alabama; and Sydney Rennich from Knoxville, Tennessee. 

Sara McCarty, professor of economics and Brock Scholars program coordinator, mentioned that one of the key features of the program is the ability for the student to customize his or her major. This allows each student to combine majors that are typically difficult to combine due to the courses being offered in different schools across the university.

Each year, the program sees more and more unique personalization within the scholars’ chosen paths of study and this new group of students is no exception. Buchanan will focus on a combination of finance, Asian studies and world languages; Clark has chosen to study economics and social entrepreneurship; Lemons will study economics and public health; and Rennich will focus on global economics and business development. 

“By freeing up some of the course requirements, they are able to pursue combinations that align with their passions and career and life goals,” McCarty said. “Several of our scholars, past and present, are passionate about poverty alleviation, both through development and relief work, and through policy. The Scholars program allows them to pursue a degree within Brock School of Business and supplement that degree with courses that will aid them in this life trajectory.” 

“My main interest in the Brock Scholars program was the freedom you gain in regards to your major,” Clark stated. “My goal is to go into the community development and social entrepreneurship fields so, obviously, the social entrepreneurship program that Brock School of Business offers was a big draw for me to Samford.” 

Clark plans to enhance his studies by adding courses from areas of campus outside of the business school such as sociology, religion and Christian ministry. 

Veteran scholars include juniors Hannah Alexander (economics, sociology, social entrepreneurship, accounting) from Jasper, Alabama; Sara Bartlett from Orlando, Florida (economics and social entrepreneurship); Cooper Christian from Austin, Texas (economics, sociology, data analytics, computer science and sports analytics); Sam Katulich from Leonardtown, Maryland (economics and finance); Julia Sisk from Chapel Hill, North Carolina (economics, finance and sociology); Tanner Thompson from Spanish Fort, Alabama (finance, health care administration and social entrepreneurship); as well as seniors Jacob Evans from Louisville, Kentucky (finance and economics) and Abbey Robertson from Augusta, Georgia (economics). 

“In my interview [to be admitted into Brock Scholars], I remember asking the professors what their favorite part of the program is, and the answer included ‘watching the students grow in confidence’ and ‘the ability to develop a humble philosophy to knowledge’,” Robertson said. “This answer gave me a framework for the program, encouraging me to take risks with internships, foster relationships and provided permission for me to dream big as I discern my calling based on my passions and abilities. This program took the pressure off of grades and getting a good job, and refocused that energy into growing my intellectual curiosity.” 

Robertson added that she has benefitted from the program through the network of current and former Brock Scholars and involved professors who know her interests and offer opportunities and advice. The financial resources have allowed Robertson, and other scholars, chances to participate in unique internships, conferences and travel. 

Brock Scholar graduates work for large international non-governmental organizations like Compassion International and local nonprofits, for large and small private firms, as well as the U.S. government, allowing them to apply their unique combination of courses and experience. 

“Brock Scholars has already started opening doors for me with internship and networking opportunities, so it is my hope that, in addition to my greater class flexibility, I will gain more hands-on experience as a result of participating in the program,” Clark closed.