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Darla Moore School of Business

Rising Scholars program seeks to create a more inclusive Moore School

Nov. 7, 2019

During the 2018-19 academic year, 19 Moore School freshmen participated in the inaugural Rising Scholars Program, an excellence initiative to develop future business leaders and bridge the opportunity gap for underserved students from South Carolina.

Moore School students who are selected for the program share a passion for business and a commitment to the school’s core values.

To be designated as Rising Scholars, students must demonstrate a record of excellence, resiliency, teamwork and integrity — characteristics that are fundamental to future business leaders.

“Rising Scholars are South Carolina students who have all it takes to become leaders, but because of environmental conditions, we can’t expect them to reach their full potential without adequate access to resources and opportunities,” said Alice Leri, Moore School associate dean for diversity and inclusion and an international business assistant professor.

Leri said navigating a university can be particularly daunting for students who are the first in their family to attend college.

“Many Rising Scholars are first-generation students, and their families are making huge sacrifices to send them to the Moore School. Some students work two jobs to afford their education, and it is not uncommon for them to lack social capital and feel isolated in a big school like ours.”

To help students succeed, students attend a tailored session of University 101, network with successful alumni, are paired with faculty and peer mentors, benefit from personal finance education and obtain BB&T emerging leadership certificates.

Beginning in fall 2019, the second cohort of students will live on Rising Scholars-specific residence hall floors in South Tower. The residence hall community will join more than 25 USC living-learning communities that enhance academic success and the student experience.

All Rising Scholars have access to peer tutors and ad hoc academic resources, and students with financial need receive a renewable scholarship each academic year.

Each year of the four-year program has a specific focus. Freshmen build a community of faculty and peers to advise and support them, while sophomores create a career trajectory and develop key skills to achieve their goals.

Juniors and seniors prepare for summer internships, the job market and post-college life. Seniors also learn practical skills such as how to negotiate salaries, buy a house and budget expenses. 

Graduating in four years or less to minimize student debt, receiving an outstanding educational experience and getting great job offers are the main outcomes expected from the program, Leri said. 

“We want these students to have choices,” she said. “We want them to fulfill their dreams after graduation and have the opportunity to work for multinational companies.”

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