‘A work of God’: How a scholarship gift can provide for not just college, but a career
College is expensive; there’s no arguing that. Not many students are capable of paying out of pocket for four (or more) years of tuition — which is why scholarships are so important. But contrary to popular belief, most scholarships exist not because of the college or university, but thanks to graduates who give back and pay it forward — and the impact they have stretches far beyond a student’s college years.
For example, take Ashley (Kinchen) Rehkopf, BBA ’13, MTax ’13. Like many incoming freshmen, Ashley and her family became familiar with the Baylor admissions office during the months leading up to her start at BU. Ashley laughs now, recounting how her father was on a first-name basis with the staff, calling each week to check and see if his daughter had received the scholarships she needed to attend her dream school.
The scholarships did come through, allowing Ashley to earn both an undergraduate degree and a master’s from Baylor. She says she remains grateful for the many scholarships she received, including the Dr. Bill Thomas Endowed Scholarship Fund in Accounting.
The scholarship, named for a beloved Baylor business professor, was established years ago by a group of four BU alumni whose lives had been touched by Thomas’ teaching and mentoring. His former students, who still count Thomas as a friend and mentor many years later, established the fund to make sure that his legacy of helping students continues for generations to come. For Ashley, the scholarship was what made that second Baylor degree possible — and that second degree was what got her foot in the door of the professional world.
“Through that five-year program, Baylor introduced me to Deloitte,” she says about her current employer. “As a junior, I was able to interview with all of the major accounting firms here at Baylor and secure an internship with them, and I had a job offer before starting my fifth year. To have my whole path laid out was amazing.”
That path has continued to be pretty amazing. After graduation, Ashley moved to Dallas to work at Deloitte, where after four years, she was promoted to tax manager for her office, a position she has enjoyed since.
The scholarship and Dr. Thomas’ legacy have continued to inspire Ashley. She says she’s “always” telling the high school students she meets to never give up on their dream schools, but instead to apply and seek out scholarships. She says she is grateful to be part of such an incredible legacy.
“It’s something I’m extremely thankful for and passionate about,” says Rehkopf. “My family couldn’t afford Baylor without scholarships, and I definitely consider my time at Baylor as a work of God through scholarships.”
Sic ’em, Baylor scholarship supporters!