Award Given to Transfer Student Committed to Academic Excellence
College of Southern Maryland graduate James Walls, 21, of Hughesville has been named a Gross Regents Scholar.
The Regents Scholars Program was established by the University System of Maryland Board of Regents to affirm its commitment to academic excellence and to enable students of exceptional ability to develop fully their intellectual and creative talents. In recognition of the contributions of outstanding transfer students, the Board of Regents awards the Gross Regents Scholarship to a Maryland community college student.
The scholarship recipient must complete an associate degree with a superior grade point average, thus continuing the tradition of high academic standards demonstrated by all Regents Scholars.
Walls graduated in spring 2016 with a 4.0 GPA.
An English major and dean’s list student at CSM, Walls said he plans to study computer science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
Walls, who has autism on the higher-functioning end of the spectrum, was diagnosed when he was around 10. He was quick to credit CSM and the services that it offers to students with disabilities as one of the keys to his success.
“CSM has the best Disabilities Support Services team I’ve met thus far,” he said. He also noted staff was “very supportive.”
Renata Zgorski, disability supports services coordinator at the Prince Frederick Campus, was the first staff member he met on his CSM journey, he said.
“She has helped me and others with challenges time and time again and always sets time aside for her students,” Walls said. “From offering assistance with choosing the best classes and professors to take, to giving that extra push and encouragement toward finals week. From day-one, staff members and professors alike have made time for their students. Each individual in DSS – Ms. Zgorski, Glennis Daniels-Bacchus and Sariya Winters – has a specialty that makes their team one of the best I’ve met. The three of them have a great synergy.”
“So far, CSM has been the best experience I’ve had in my life,” Walls said. “I’ve been able to interact with people classified as ‘normal,’ without disabilities, and learn from them. I’ve been able to find more interests and, because I’ve encouraged myself to socialize while I’ve been here, I’ve been able to make plenty of friends and hear many different stories.”
“I would recommend CSM to absolutely anyone,” said Walls, who believes that community college, in general, is a great place to start college, especially if students lack the independence required of them at a four-year institution.
Walls is excited that his hard work paid off. “It was a long road to get to this point, and since one has to fail to succeed, I’m really glad I learned from past experience,” he said.
Walls’ Regents Scholar award will cover the costs for in-state tuition and mandatory fees, university board costs and room charges, and $500 each semester to be used for other education expenses. The award is renewable for a total of four semesters provided the student maintains a minimum 3.5 GPA and completes 12 or more credit hours each semester.
Last year, 1,762 CSM students transferred to 226 different four-year colleges and universities in 45 states and the District of Columbia. CSM has more than 50 guaranteed transfer agreements with four-year colleges and universities across the country. Discover what doors an education at CSM will open for you at http://www.csmd.edu/student-services/advising/transfer-services/outgoing-transfer-students/index.html or email firstname.lastname@example.org.