The Student Voice of Coastal Carolina University



Swain Scholars Spotlight: Students making a difference

Four Coastal Carolina University students were chosen to be part of the Swain Scholars program, a branch of the recently-added Conway Medical Center College of Health and Human Performance. 


Junior exercise and sports science majors Savannah Piziak and Stephanie Panos, as well as junior and sophomore psychology majors Alexis Hoffman and Evie Burroughs were interviewed and chosen to participate in the science-based initiative. The selection process is based on a multitude of factors, including a minimum 3.5 GPA, strong recommendation letters, and most importantly, the shared goal of wanting to change and better the Horry County community. 


The Swain Scholars program, according to the CCU website, consist of students chosen to be Kenneth E. and Jewel Clemmons Swain Scholars who will work alongside local agencies as well as CCU faculty to improve and create health-focused programs within the community. Each scholar receives up to $5,000 per year for two academic years, which was made possible by the late Kenneth E. Swain. 


Piziak, Panos, Hoffman and Burroughs were all selected out of a number of applicants to complete an interview process, which led to their offers to be Swain Scholars. 


“After we were chosen they kind of give you the rundown.. ready for the commitment because it is a scholarship,” Piziak said. “But there’s also a lot of research and work that you have to put the time in behind it.” 


Hoffman said the main points they touched on in the interviews pertained to how they have bettered communities through their work and contributions to the community so far, as well as what each of their areas of interest are. 


The Swain Scholars collectively said they were honored and excited to be given such a prestigious opportunity. 


As a sophomore student, Burroughs said it was a surprise to be named a Swain Scholar. 


“I’m proud of myself and, it said juniors and seniors so I mean, I am the youngest one,” she said. “I guess I’m a junior by credit but…I thought I wasn’t going to make it because I was so nervous.” 


Piziak and Hoffman also agreed their initial reaction was to call their moms and tell them the news, and Panos said her mom was “over the moon elated.” 


“I was literally jump-dancing at the kitchen table when I got my email because I was so excited,” she said. “It is such a prestigious opportunity to work with other like-minded individuals about topics that we really care about.” 


Since two of the chosen students are a combination of exercise science and psychology majors, they plan to use their combined expertise and knowledge to better both the mental and physical health of communities in and surrounding Conway, South Carolina. Toward the end of this school year, they will be deciding upon a research topic to focus their work on.  


From there, they will choose and work alongside different local agencies in order to achieve their goals. 


“I think this semester is more creating the ideas and stuff, and then next semester is more presenting the research, and then I’m assuming senior year will be more like implementing things that we figured out,” Hoffman said. 

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