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Above and beyond

Merit-based scholarships provide sense of recognition for industrious Business student

Throughout his life, Jaelin Vaughn has been known for his ambition and aptitude. He wasted no time establishing that same reputation when he enrolled at Virginia Commonwealth University in 2018, where he has been heavily involved in student organizations, honor societies and volunteer service groups since that first year on campus — all while excelling in his academic courses.

“I’ve always felt the need to prove to myself and others that I’m down for any challenge and I can do the work,” says Vaughn, a third-year economics major in the VCU School of Business.

As much as Vaughn enjoys being active in student life, the benefits of his involvement come with a cost, he says.

“There are a lot of trade-offs you have to make and it gets stressful,” Vaughn says. “Just maintaining good grades can be a lot, but on top of that, I work, participate in student organizations and maintain my personal life. When all of those things mix together, you have to work hard to stay afloat.”

Receiving the Covington Travel Scholarship, a merit-based award for juniors or seniors in the School of Business who demonstrate strong leadership skills, in 2020 provided a sense of recognition for his hard work as well as the added benefit of financial relief, Vaughn says.

“I’m a first-generation student from a single-parent household,” he says. “Having a scholarship takes off some of the financial stress of my education, but the recognition goes even further than the funding itself.”

As Vaughn prepares for his final year at VCU and the career he hopes to have after graduation, he looks forward to the day he can pay it forward.

“It is so rewarding to be recognized for your achievements, so I hope to do that for someone else in the future,” he says.