A HOPE Scholar understands that failure is not an option, because failure doesn’t exist in a vacuum of ambition, confidence, perseverance and determination. A HOPE Scholar understands that if at first you don’t succeed, simply try again, but more diligently. For these reasons, Nikkia Echols is The H.O.P.E. Scholarship’s first  HOPE Scholar.

A Baltimore native, Echols, 23,  began her college education at Morgan State University near the comfort of family and friends. Left unfulfilled by the familiarity of her surroundings, Echols transferred to Howard University in Washington, D.C. after her sophomore year. The change reinvigorated Echols’ creative spirit.  At Howard, Echols, an audio production major, found the challenging environment she’d been longing for.

Despite all of the personal growth Echols experienced as a result of her transfer, there was a downside. Howard was significantly more expensive than her previous institution. Making ends meet continues to be a challenge. In her application to The H.O.P.E. Scholarship Echols says, “As a transfer student, I lost many credits, delaying my matriculation. I even had to withdraw from Howard twice due to financial issues. Yet, I have been determined not to let any of that stop me.”Her story of courage, passion, and persistence is inspiring. Amid severe financial difficulty, she remains hopeful and continues to progress academically.When asked how she felt about becoming a HOPE Scholar, she responded “I was so EXCITED. I think I literally screamed. The campus newspaper had recently covered The H.O.P.E. Scholarship. When I found out  that I was  winner,  I was totally shocked.”
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