New Zion student will share scholarship from electric cooperatives


Jordan Brown, a native of New Zion and student at S.C. State University’s Dr. Emily England Clyburn Honors College, was named a finalist in the Pay it Forward competition in which students looked for solutions to pressing social and economic problems in the state’s rural areas.

With the inaugural competition, students at the state’s largest honors college programs put their educations to work by brainstorming solutions. Honors students at Clemson and S.C. State universities were named as finalists in the new academic competition sponsored by South Carolina’s electric cooperatives.

The team from S.C. State, including Brown, Simien Chestnut of Saint Matthews and Jerdashia Scott of Spartanburg, was awarded a $1,000 scholarship for their team report, “Getting Crime Rates Down in Rural South Carolina.” The students researched criminal activity near historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and proposed a community partnership solution (complete with an app) to make students, faculty and staff aware of the risks and to provide crime prevention tips.

A team of students from the Clemson University Honors College claimed the top scholarship prize of $5,000 for their plan to create mobile dental clinics to serve rural residents who do not have dental insurance or access to regular dental care. Calling their initiative “The Party Enamel,” students Trina Pham of Mauldin, Micah Jordan of Easley, and Aiden Tombuelt of Spartanburg, outlined plans to outfit and staff mobile clinics, and identified multiple partner organizations and funding sources.

“It’s great to see young South Carolinians apply their education, talent and drive to the issues facing rural communities,” says Mike Couick, president and CEO of The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina. “Both of these projects represent the creativity and critical problem-solving we hoped to inspire when we launched the Pay it Forward initiative.”

The projects were judged by a panel of community leaders including U.S. Rep. James Clyburn, Post & Courier reporter Avery Wilks, state Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman, the Rev. Charles Jackson of Brookland Baptist Church, and Sue Berkowitz of the S.C. Appleseed Legal Justice Foundation. 

The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina, Inc. is the state association of independent, member-owned electric cooperatives. Through 800,000 accounts, more than 1.5 million South Carolinians in all 46 counties use power provided by electric cooperatives. Together, electric cooperatives operate the state’s largest electric power system with 75,000 miles of power lines. Find more information at


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