WINTERVILLE—Hard work in the classroom has paid off for Pitt Community College student Faith Hollis, who was notified this month that she is the 2021-22 recipient of the John F. Minges Criminal Justice Scholarship.
This spring, Hollis completed the first year of PCC’s Criminal Justice Technology curriculum with a 3.5 GPA. As a result, the Greenville resident will receive $2,600 through the Minges Scholarship—$1,300 in each of the upcoming fall and spring semesters—to assist with tuition and fees as she puts the finishing touches on an associate degree this time next year.
Hollis says she is grateful for the scholarship funding and those responsible for establishing the award.
“It means a lot to me that there are people out there that are invested and genuinely care about education and the students wanting to further their education,” she said. “I cut as many corners as I can, and everything I spend my money on is important or a necessity, so it’s really nice to have additional income for school. It takes a lot of stress off of me.”
Upon completion of her criminal justice studies, Hollis says she wants to become a corrections or police officer. The 27-year-old says she has been interested in law enforcement since she was a youngster watching crime-related documentaries and court shows on television.
“I think my inspiration comes from the officers that I had interactions with when I was younger,” Hollis says. “My family and I stayed in a really rough neighborhood. There were constant break-ins, home invasions … I was so scared, especially when I overheard my parents being concerned about it.”
Hollis said it wasn’t until police patrols in her neighborhood became more frequent that she began to feel safer.
“I felt at ease knowing there was somebody around to protect me,” she said. “They seemed like superheroes to me. I want to do that for the community. I want to be the reason why someone feels safe, and I want to keep the community safe as well.”
But when Hollis first arrived at PCC, it wasn’t to fulfill a childhood dream of working in law enforcement. Instead, it was to earn a GED, which she did in August 2018.
“My goal was actually to just get a GED and maybe get a job at a fast-food restaurant,” she said. “… The faculty members encouraged me to not let my mind go to waste and to (realize) my full potential. They helped me find my interests and passions, and that’s how I chose my major.”
Hollis says she wanted to pursue a career that “would always be in high demand.” Law enforcement fit the bill and held her interest, but she needed a confidence boost to get the ball rolling. She found it at Pitt.
“There were so many instructors (at PCC) that were trying to help me reach my goal,” she said. “They just went over and beyond to make sure I was okay. And it wasn’t just one instructor—it was every faculty member I encountered.”
Hollis says she worked with a PCC advisor who asked her to describe her dream job, hobbies and interests, and favorite TV shows. It helped her identify a path to fulfill her desire to make members of the community feel safe.
“We came to the conclusion that criminal justice would be the area of study best-suited for me,” she said. “I was so excited and felt such a passion for it that I knew it was the right decision.”
Established in April 2008, the John F. Minges Scholarship is available to second-year Criminal Justice Technology students who have completed at least 24 credits hours in PCC’s program with a 3.0 GPA or better. Applicants must also submit a letter of recommendation and 500- to 750-word essay. A committee comprised of representatives from Pitt’s criminal justice program selects a scholarship recipient each spring.