Be the Light Foundation establishes annual scholarship

  • NW Foundation

By Natalie Ehrhardt, Communications Specialist

The Be the Light Foundation has established an annual scholarship at Northwest Mississippi Community College to provide assistance to African American students pursuing a career in allied health fields.

According to Founder Ashland Johnson, the Foundation’s name comes from Bible verse Matthew 5:14-16, which reads, in part: “You are the light of the world…let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

“Looking back, Northwest really gave me that foundation, as far as the education I needed to continue and help me decide what I wanted to do,” she said. “I want to encourage other students who are graduating high school to consider Northwest as a part of their educational journey.”

Johnson, a Senatobia native and Senatobia High School alumna, graduated from Northwest with an associate degree in general studies in 2015, followed by a bachelor’s degree from the University of Mississippi and a master’s degree from Jackson State University. She started the Be the Light Foundation last year, and said the organization operates on four main pillars: scholarships, mentorship, education, and service.

According to Johnson, the first two pillars in particular come into play through the organization’s new scholarship with the college. The scholarship will be awarded to African American students who graduated from Senatobia High School and are pursuing an allied health profession through their studies at Northwest. Johnson, a speech-language pathologist, notes that she is a minority in her field, and hopes to empower more African American students to enter allied health fields.

In terms of mentoring, Johnson said her organization is dedicated to highlighting various allied health professions and partnering students with those working in those fields. As someone who benefitted greatly from her time at the college, Johnson is excited to give back to her alma mater.