A Grovetown man who turned his life around after dropping out of high school was awarded a prestigious college study-abroad scholarship Wednesday by Rotary International.
Corey R. Gentry, a junior at Augusta State University, received a $23,000 Ambassadorial Scholarship, which is to be used to help pay for two semesters of study and expenses. Gentry was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Columbia County for the scholarship, which is awarded to about 80 college pupils annually, said Jim Waldron Jr., the chapter president.
"He showed he was already committed to public service," Waldron said of Gentry.
Waldron said the international studies major distinguished himself from other candidates with his personality, openness, desired course of study and prior volunteer service abroad.
Gentry said he intends to enter civil service working for either the United Nations or U.S. Department of State.
"I've just always had a love for politics, and what better way to get into it on an international level?" Gentry said. "I've always wanted to help people."
Gentry plans to finish his bachelor's degree at a foreign university in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Scotland or Ireland. Rotary International will assign the country, and Gentry must complete the application process to the university of his choice.
Gentry attended Harlem High School and later earned his GED before enrolling at Augusta State. Gentry said he plans to earn a master's degree and doctorate specializing in diplomacy and conflict resolution.
Holly Carter, an assistant vice president for international affairs at Augusta State who is a former Ambassadorial Scholarship recipient, recommended Gentry to the Rotarians. She told the club she cried when she learned the pupil who joined her on service learning trips to New Zealand and Fiji had also earned the scholarship.
She added that the program "will develop a lifelong love of helping other people."
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