Jim and Linda Bodycomb Endowed Scholarship
Established in 2002 by the Bodycombs to benefit high achievers with financial need that cannot be met by other sources of financial assistance.
Helping to provide financial aid to support college students is central to the values of Linda and Jim Bodycomb. Jim, an electrical engineer with a degree from the University of Maryland, comes from a well-educated family that has always understood the importance of higher education and helping others to get their education. Linda was the first in her family to get a college education, which she had to fund herself. Linda would not have obtained her degree from Morehead State University in Kentucky without the assistance of a sympathetic English professor who stepped in and helped her obtain a work study position. This scholarship is in honor of the help she received.
Recipient 2012-13: Janay Jacobs
Recipient 2011-12: Janay Jacobs
Linda Bodycomb almost fell through the cracks. When she was a student, she worked full-time as a waitress to pay for college and it took its toll.
"I nearly failed and almost quit," Linda recounts. "I was not doing well in my classes because I was so exhausted from working full-time. Because of a professor who believed in me, I was lucky enough to get some financial aid so that I could get my degree in social work."
After completing her undergraduate degree at Morehead State University in Kentucky, Linda worked as a paralegal at Legal Services and Bell Labs, then went on to earn a degree in interior design and a master's degree in theater design.
"I didn't want anyone else to have to struggle for their education like that if I could help it," emphasizes Linda. To that end, she and her husband, Jim, ultimately wound up establishing three scholarship funds at St. Mary's. Yet, neither was ever a student here.
Why establish scholarships for St. Mary's students? When the Bodycombs retired to Calvert County in 2001, Linda noticed an article about the newly formed Cardozo High School scholarship program at St. Mary's. The students of this Washington, D.C., area school were promised full tuition to the college of their choice upon successfully completing all academic requirements. However, the donor who initiated the program went bankrupt and St. Mary's stepped in to offer scholarships. After reading the article, Linda saw her chance to help students who were struggling like she did to pay for a college education.
The Bodycombs established two scholarships for students whose financial aid fell through right before they were to attend college: one was awarded to Stephanie Franklin '06, a St. Mary's County resident, and the second to Shermaine Mitchell '06, a graduate of Cardozo High School.
Now that both of these students have successfully graduated from St. Mary's, the Bodycombs have begun a scholarship endowment that the College anticipates to begin awarding in the academic year 2009-10.
"Now that Stephanie and Shermaine have graduated and have gone on to careers of their own," begins Linda, "it is nice to know that we were able to make the difference needed, however small, to help them get started. It is our hope that they will in turn, someday, provide the same gift to some other student in need. If we can all 'pay it forward,' we can hope to make life better for so many others. We all hope to make a difference in our lifetimes - what a great way to do so!"
Stephanie Franklin knew she wanted to be a teacher since the third grade. She also knew she wanted to come to St. Mary's and so applied for early decision.
During her senior year in high school, Stephanie also applied for a Maryland state HOPE scholarship, which covers some college costs and expects the recipient to work full-time as a classroom teacher in a public school in Maryland upon graduation.
Two months before she was to begin at St. Mary's, Stephanie got a letter in the mail stating that "due to insufficient funds," she would not receive a HOPE scholarship. She and her family didn't think she was going to be able to go to college without the scholarship support. Stephanie's dad got on the telephone and called "everyone he could think of" to advocate on her behalf.
One of the people he called was Patricia Richardson, then superintendent of St. Mary's County Public Schools. Dr. Richardson called Torre Meringolo, vice president for development at the College. As she explained Stephanie's situation, it was clear to Torre that Stephanie was at risk of "falling through the cracks" financially and losing her opportunity for a college education. He and Paula Mitchell, director of major gifts, knew that the Bodycomb Scholarship was just the thing for Stephanie. Stephanie then got another letter in the mail: this one from St. Mary's, stating that she was being awarded a Bodycomb scholarship. "I was very surprised and so happy," Stephanie remembers.
During her first year at St. Mary's, Stephanie found that economics was her hardest course, and English composition her favorite. She loved chorus and knew she made the right decision in coming here. She graduated with honors in May 2006.
Today, Stephanie finds herself doing what she has wanted to since the third grade - being a teacher. She teaches seventh grade reading and language arts at Spring Ridge Spring Ridge Middle School in St. Mary's County.