Scholarships, College of Charleston Student Make an Impact

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Makenna Stone has been able to make positive changes across campus and beyond, thanks to her scholarships.

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What do mermaids, finance and hammocks have in common? Makenna Stone

The Honors College finance major, who is also double-minoring in economics and environmental and sustainability studies, has been busy exploring ways to make positive changes on campus and beyond. Thanks to the Edgar T. Cato Scholarship Fund, William Nelson Grooms Memorial Scholarship and Maclean Business “Ready to Work” Scholarship, Stone has had the flexibility to make a positive impact in a myriad of ways. 

In fall 2022, together with junior Issy Padula, Stone received the Cougar Changemaker Challenge Award to install hammocks around campus. 

“Students are indoors so often that we thought enhancing our outdoor spacing would be a good idea to combat nature deficit disorder,” explains Stone, who aims to create a more sustainable future. “The hammocks were sustainably sourced and have been used by students quite a lot.” 

Throughout her time at the College, however, Stone’s biggest contribution has been as a School of Business Student Success Center student ambassador, a role she was awarded thanks to her scholarship essay. Her passion and willingness to pitch in wherever necessary led her to be the first first-year student to receive the Above and Beyond Impact Award. Now a rising senior, Stone is a co-director of the student ambassador team. 

“I’ve yet to encounter another student who embodies the same remarkable combination of energy and dedication as Makenna,” says Hayden Smith ’15, the SSC’s director of student success and a management instructor. “Serving as one of our student directors within the ambassador team, Makenna’s contagious enthusiasm and smile uplifts the entire School of Business community. Her dedication to the School of Business is unmatched. Makenna’s tireless efforts to foster inclusivity among our School of Business students and those she leads in the ambassador program exemplify her exceptional leadership and passion.” 

In the classroom, Stone is also making a difference. 

“Makenna is a delight to have in a classroom,” says Mark Witte, professor of economics. “She’s an exceptionally hardworking student with a curious and engaged mind. I was also impressed with her willingness to help her fellow students with challenging material and to ask difficult questions which showed not just how much she understood, but also her interest in learning more.” 

Last summer, as a recipient of the Career Center Internship Award, Stone worked with Brittain Resorts & Hotels in Myrtle Beach as a corporate accounting intern. Because the internship was 30 minutes from her home, she wouldn’t have been able to participate without the award, which covered her transportation expenses. 

“The experience validated my plans to create a more sustainable future through sustainable investing,” says Stone. “By taking a holistic approach to how we look at a company, we can see how a company interacts with people, planet and profit.” 

During that same summer, Stone supported the venture she and her mother created – Mermaid Adventure Swim. For an hour, participants swim in a mermaid or shark tail and learn tricks, go through an underwater obstacle course and, of course, pose for a mini-photoshoot. Stone and her mom had started the business in Indiana before the family moved to Myrtle Beach. 

“We partner with resort groups to hold the events,” says Stone, who now focuses on the company’s finances and website. “I got to participate in a few weekend events. It is so fulfilling to be around the guests; their joy is infectious.” 

Stone credits her scholarships for all she has been able to do while at the College.  

“First of all, it was so rewarding to have all the hard work I put into high school pay off,” she says. “The scholarships also validated that the College really wanted to have me here. The scholarships mean I can do my best at school. They believed in me and saw my potential, so I am trying to maximize my impact. Because of the scholarships, I was able to participate in the Honors Entrepreneurship Living-Learning Community and the student ambassador program.”  

Without question, Stone’s involvement at the College has led to positive changes. 

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