Unico County's Alexis Harvey named Niswonger Scholar

Sue Guinn Legg • Jan 13, 2018 at 10:44 PM

Unicoi County High School senior Alexis Harvey has been chosen to take part in the Niswonger Scholars program, a full scholarship to college with travel, internships, leadership training and other opportunities designed to enhance the potential of region’s “best and brightest students” and to strengthen those students’ home communities.

A program of the Niswonger Foundation founded by Greeneville businessman and philanthropist Scott Niswonger, Niswonger Scholars is believed to be unique to any other scholarship program in the country because of its emphasis on developing the region’s future leaders.

Participants are selected through a competitive nomination and interview process conducted in conjunction with 17 Northeast Tennessee school districts. And in exchange for multiple areas of enrichment the program provides, its scholars commit to returning home to invest the first four years of their professional lives in their home communities.

Harvey said her immediate reaction to being selected to one of this year’s program’s five slots was “awesome” but also “a big relief that I would have the funds I need for college and I will be able to go through college without that stress on my mind.”

As she understands it, the scholarship will renew each year and will cover everything except books — “only because they want you to take that responsibility of getting a job and paying for your own books.”

Her plans will take her three hours away from home to Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, where she plans to earn a degree in electrical engineering.

The leadership training will take place in Greeneville during summers and school breaks. Her travel opportunities will include end-of-year trips, with her first one possibly to the Bahamas next summer. And she foresees her internships taking place locally at the Eastman Chemical Company or Nuclear Fuel Services.

Behind her selection as a Niswonger Scholar was a condensed biography of academic accomplishments and leadership included in the foundation’s announcement.

Extras include president and section leader of the UCHS marching band; senior class secretary and homeroom representative for the UCHS Student Council; a member of the National Honor Society, Beta Club, Book Club, Spanish Club and Students Against Destructive Decisions; a track and field athlete; secretary of the UCHS Christian Student Union; secretary of the Chick-Fil-A Leader Academy; a Chemistry II Award; an a Marching Band Most Excellent Junior Award.

A daughter of Crystal Winston and Daryl Harvey with three younger siblings, Alexis is a supporter of the Operation Christmas Child outreach conducted annually by the Samaritan’s Purse international relief ministry, is an American Cancer Society Relay for Life team member and a regular volunteer in the UCHS Gentry Stadium concessions stand.

Looking forward to her years in the Niswonger Scholars program, she said she has great appreciation for the foundation and for UCHS teachers and counselors who nominated her for the program and helped her prepare for her interview.

“I had a lot of support from teachers and staff at my school,” Alexis said. “They nominated me and gave me a really big push, helping me with the interview process.”

As for the program, she said, “It is different, and I really appreciate the Niswonger Foundation for all they are planning on doing for my future.”

Email Sue Guinn Legg at slegg@johnsoncitypress.com. Follow her on Twitter @sueleggjcpress. Like her on Facebook at facebook.com/sueleggjcpress.

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