March 24, 2018  

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Southern Miss Student Captures Blackboard Scholarship

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Keeyuania Pannell

University of Southern Mississippi student Keeyuania Pannell has seen her commitment to education pay off handsomely in the form of a $5,000 scholarship from Blackboard Inc.

Pannell, a junior psychology major from Waynesboro, Miss., entered an online competition sponsored by Blackboard, an education software developer. She finished second in the voting with her submission to the question: “How will you use your education to make the world a better place?”

“I entered the competition because paying for school each semester is expensive,” said Pannell, a graduate of Wayne County High. “My goal was to capture first place, but I fell short by only a few hundred votes. The final day of the challenge I didn’t look at the scores. I was nervous and excited. I received an e-mail immediately after the competition was over stating that I had won. I was overjoyed to share the news with my family and friends.”

Blackboard created the competition after responding to the #PayMyTuitionChallenge from college students nationwide. Students had the option to submit their answers in the form of a video, photo or written response, and were told to share and have others vote-on their responses. The student with the most votes won $15,000, while second and third place winners each received $5,000.

In her written submission, Pannell said: “Education is one of the best investments a young adult can make. Education has the power to change the world. I will continually give back to my community. Giving back and inspiring the youth.”

Although she is majoring in psychology, Pannell plans to pursue masters and doctoral degrees in education.

“I would love to become a teacher and soon after a principal,” she said. “My goals are simply to inspire students to be great at everything they do.”

To learn more about the Blackboard competition, visit: