Written by Sarah Shelley | Content Development Specialist

Jayla Media, a senior at University of the Cumberlands (UC), wasn’t expecting an email to apply for a nomination for a Sigma Beta Delta scholarship. And she certainly wasn’t expecting to win the $1,500 scholarship – but she did. If it wasn’t for Ms. Agnes Brown-Oliphant, the Hutton School of Business’ administrative assistant, and Dr. Stephanie Thacker, a business professor at UC, she may not have had the courage to even apply.

Brown-Oliphant, who is also a sponsor for UC’s chapter of Sigma Beta Delta, chose Jayla to represent the chapter for the scholarship. She also helped Jayla clean up her essay and make sure everything was ready for submission. She said Jayla is an intelligent and caring individual who has stepped up to help Sigma Beta Delta.

“Miss Medina is an exemplary student, officer, and community service leader here at Cumberlands and the surrounding area,” said Brown-Oliphant. “Her hard work, dedication, and willingness to lend a hand to those in need is part of the values that we look for in members of the business honor society.”

Jayla credits her business and accounting successes to the people in the Hutton School of Business, as well as a last-minute decision during her senior year to tack on an accounting major to her business major. Thanks to the help of several professors and staff, she was able to add the second major but remain on schedule for graduation in May 2024.

“Not only did I get the scholarship through the honor society,” said Jayla, “but I got a scholarship through the KYCPA organization as well, which was brought to my attention by an accounting professor I had. The professors, like Agnes and anyone in the business department, always present new opportunities for students to get funding, scholarships, jobs, and internships.”      

Thanks in part to the HSB faculty and staff, over the last three years, Jayla has been able to attend a hall of fame induction in Lexington for the entrepreneurs of Kentucky, worked on the subcommittee for Cumberlands’ annual business forum, volunteered for the business forum (she organized a room for a speaker and ensured everything in the room ran smoothly), and earned an internship at her dream company, Ernest & Young, during the summer of 2023.

Through the internship, Jayla spent two months learning and exploring four different types of business and accounting. But it was FSO (Financial Services Office) that really nabbed her attention. After her Ernest & Young internship ended, she was given the opportunity to apply for a second one at the company post-graduation. Jayla plans that, after she graduates, she will begin her internship there while pursuing her master’s degree in accounting.

“The internship last summer led me to find that I want to go into auditing,” Jayla explained. “The business school centered me to exactly what I wanted to do.”

Getting to the internship was a long process for Jayla, but her professors helped her through every step. From résumés to practicing for the interview, professors made sure she was prepared to pursue her dreams with confidence. 

Jayla is set to graduate in May 2024. After years of working with the Student Government Association, Campus Activities Board, and Sigma Beta Delta at UC, she has been able to fill her résumé and get much experience she would not have gained if her professors had not encouraged her. Thanks to the faculty and staff at Cumberlands who poured into her, Jayla knows what career to pursue and is able to step into the field with confidence.