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Past Winners

Shimele Williams
2012 Recipient of the Paul Jennings Scholarship
    Born in Baton Rouge, Shimele graduated from Capitol High School in 1998. Shimele has a 3.2 GPA at LSU and will graduate in May 2012 with an advanced degree in Social Work.  She is a "repeat" Bengal Group Scholarship Winner.
    Previously employed in the banking arena, Shimele harbored a dream to help others in Louisiana within the field of social work. This dream came from Shimele imagining teenage moms experiencing the challenges she had faced -- all without a support system to get them through difficult times.
    Thus, Shimele worked to make this dream a reality. She decided she wanted to help young mothers, along with abused and neglected children, by returning to LSU and obtaining her degree in social work. And so she DID.
    Shimele has a daughter Chastity, who is 12 years old and the apple of her eye.
The Bengal Group in very honored to award Shimele the Paul Jennings Scholarship, an award going to a giving person who seeks to share her heart and talents in Louisiana in the area of Social Work. 

Amanda Brewer
Born in Baton Rouge, Amanda attended Christian Life Academy, graduated in 2005, and in August of 2005 enrolled at LSU in Elementary Education. A string of medical problems together with the birth of her daughter, Alexie, took Amanda off the fast track for completion of her degree requirements. But she is now a senior, maintaining a 3.5 GPA, and plans to graduate this December. In spite of her medical issues and the responsibilities of raising a child, we were still impressed with Amanda’s determination to finish her degree and become a school teacher. She has found great help from her mother and from her church, The Healing Place. The Bengal Group is proud to be able to help Amanda finish this home stretch of her education.


Luke Britt
Luke grew up in the Ruston area and graduated from Ruston High in 1984. Luke’s path to the Bengal Group is certainly one that qualifies him as a non-traditional candidate. Starting LSU at age 40 with two boys, now ages 9 and 10, certainly created challenges for Luke that are not typical of your average LSU student. That a scholarship candidate has faced curve balls in life is not a great surprise……that a candidate finds ways to adapt and thrive is noteworthy. With a full platter of responsibility, we were impressed that Luke has found a way to do just that and plans to graduate this December with a 3.0 GPA in Mass Comm. Sometimes we have to be patient in seeing our dreams fulfilled……..and the Bengal Group is happy to be a part of the fulfillment of Luke’s dreams to get a degree from LSU.


Amandah Cockerham
Amandah grew up in Livingston Parish, attending Walker High School, where she cheered and played softball and volleyball. She graduated in May, 2008 with a 3.8 GPA and enrolled at LSU the following January in Kinesiology. Amandah’s world was pretty typical until her senior year in high school, when a series of health and back problems created complications for her personally as well as financially for her family. Amandah has been blessed with loving and supportive parents and we were very impressed with her deep appreciation for all that her parents had done sacrificially to help her. Amandah remains upbeat and positive in spite of these challenges. With interests in cardio pulmonary rehab or perhaps research at a Pennington type facility, Amandah demonstrated a willingness to adapt her career plans depending on how her medical conditions play out. The Bengal Group is excited about the path that Amandah is on and is happy to share in this chapter of her journey. 



Beverly Gaudin
Born in New Orleans Louisiana, Beverly attended Riverdale High School, Graduated in 2008, and in August 2008 enrolled at LSU in Interior Design. Beverly has a 3.72 GPA, will graduate from LSU in May 2012.
Beverly is on a team of students and faculty that recently won an international Interior Design Association Award. The Bengal Group is proud to help Beverly to achieve her dreams.


Laura Hitt
Born in Texas, Laura attended Pine Tree High School in Long View Texas. Laura has a 4.0 GPA, will graduate in May 2010 with a degree in Elementary Education. Laura has a son, Jonathan, who attends Zachary High School. Laura is 32 years old and has had a long journey in securing her degree from LSU. But, she NEVER gave up. The Bengal Group is very proud of Laura and the tenacity she exhibited so as to earn her degree at LSU.


Joshua Sartin
Born in Louisiana, Joshua attended Dutchtown High School, graduating in 2003 with a 4.1 GPA and 4th in his class. Desiring to be financially independent, Joshua went straight to work out of high school and after a couple of jobs made the life changing decision to join the Marine Corp. He served from 2005 to 2009 as an ordinance technician, but more importantly, Joshua was blessed to meet his lovely wife Mae while serving overseas. Following his years in the Marine Corp, Joshua was compelled to return to his childhood dream of one day attending LSU. He is currently maintaining a 3.67 GPA studying Civil Engineering and plans to graduate in 2013. Last December, Joshua and Mae were excited to have their first child. Though a sweet blessing, the arrival of Braiden produced some new challenges financially for the family. We were impressed with Joshua’s strong work ethic, his commitment to academic excellence, and his love for Louisiana and his plans to stay here. Together with our deep thanks for his service to our country, the Bengal Group is delighted to assist Joshua as he pursues his educational dreams.