Great Things Await Graduating Scholars

Our scholarship recipients are impressive. Not only do they make a positive difference while at the College, they go on to make an impact globally. Learn about the plans of six of our graduating scholarship recipients and watch what some of them have to say on Youtube.

Rex Bingham ’23
Supply chain analyst for Ernest & Young 

College is all about opportunity. That may seem like an oversimplification, yet it’s exactly how Rex Bingham has approached the past four years. Ever since his first days on campus, this Honors College student has been putting himself out there, seeking new ways to move out of his comfort zone and take advantage of all the College has to offer. 

The Global Scholar and a Schottland Scholar chuckles when reminded that he was initially identified as the guy whose goal was to make one new friend every hour. Now, wrapping up his undergraduate career as a double major in supply chain management and international business, Bingham’s departing the College with a number of impressive distinctions. 

Recently, Bingham won second place among undergraduates at a national conference when he presented his research on communication in the food supply chain. Shortly afterward, he earned certification as a supply chain management professional (CSCMP). He also secured Yellow Belt status within the Lean Six Sigma system.  

When asked to consider the highlights of his undergraduate years, Bingham pauses to reflect. 

“Three things come to mind,” says the native of Spartanburg, South Carolina. “First, the mentorship, support and friendship I’ve enjoyed from professor Lancie Affonsoall four years. Second, participating in the ImpactX competition where our team created a great business called FoodProof. And third, throughout the past year, I’ve conducted research under the guidance of Rafael Teixeira, assistant professor of supply chain and operations management. He’s an extraordinary researcher and I’ve learned so much working with him.” 

Post-graduation, Bingham plans to work in Denver, Colorado, where he’s been hired as a supply chain analyst with Ernest & Young but says that he’s also investigating other opportunities. 

“As my time at the College comes to an end,” he says, “I couldn’t be happier with my experiences. The friends and mentors I’ve met along the way will stay with me and provide me with a launching pad for my career and life aspirations. I look forward to using what I have learned to shape my future experiences, and I’ll be excited to come back and visit the College!” 

Andrea Kimpson’23
Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago

Community is everything to Honors College student Andrea Kimpson. That’s why she has spent her time at the College focused on making things more equitable for everyone on campus, particularly African American students. 

As a member of the Student Government Association, the Charleston Fellows Programand a peer facilitator with the Honors College’s Beyond George Street First-Year Experience program, Kimpson has made it her mission to ensure diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging efforts are front and center at the College. 

“My lived experiences as well as those within my community have taught me that there are great needs that require intentional planning and intervention with community input being the key motivator,” she says. “Here at the College, this has looked like getting involved in the efforts to improve DEIB in the Charleston Fellows program because I knew that our community could benefit from greater diversity and stronger community. My involvement with BGS centered around having our community reckon with hard conversations and topics that are needed to develop genuine belonging and inclusion.” 

Kimpson, who is from Columbia, South Carolina, was introduced to the College when she participated in “Junior Project,” a program to help multicultural high school students learn more about the College and its admissions process. It was a fortuitous opportunity that led her to enroll at CofC as a double-major in economics and international studies with a Latin America and Caribbean concentration. She is grateful for all the opportunities the College has provided. 

“I can truly say that I am able to look at complex problems from multiple perspectives thanks to my fields of study,” says Kimpson. 

The Honors College has been an important part of Kimpson’s journey, particularly her work with the BGS program where Honors Faculty Fellows Brooke Permenter ’06 and Jennifer Cavalli worked with her to redesign parts of the program’s curriculum to focus on race, equity and inclusion. 

An internship with the mayor’s office in Columbia, South Carolina, in 2021 gave her more appreciation for the importance of bridging gaps within the community. Then in 2022 Kimpson spent the summer participating in the Public Policy and International Affairs Junior Summer Institute Fellowship at the University of Minnesota, where she learned how economics, statistics and communication impact public policy decisions. 

After graduation, Kimpson will head to the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago to obtain a master’s in public policy with an emphasis on health policy. She hopes to promote health equity through technological innovation. 

Looking back at her time at the College, Kimpson is proud of her efforts to help make the campus a more diverse and welcoming place. 

“I am even more proud to see other students forming organizations and getting involved with DEIB to continue improving the College for the future,” she says. 

Kangkang Kovacs (M.F.A. ’23)
Writer with a contract

A tomboy kid thumbing her nose at the gender norms in her hometown in southeast China, a doctoral student studying nuclear physics at the University of Virginia, a scientist teaching math and physics at UC Santa Barbara, a mother homeschooling 5-year-old twins during the pandemic:  Kangkang Kovacs has been a lot of things over the years, but, at her core, she’s always been a writer. 

That’s what led her to the M.F.A. in Creative Writing Program at the College of Charleston, where she has been a Dorothea Benton Frank Fellow, a graduate research assistant for the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture, a graduate assistant for swamp pink literary journal and an integral part of the program’s writing community. 

“This community of support is one of my most valuable takeaways from the program,” says Kovacs, noting the faculty in the program – including her advisor, English professor Anthony Varallo – enhanced her storytelling and encouraged her growth as a writer. “These brilliant writers and teachers inspired me to find my own voice.” 

It’s exactly what Kovacs needed to develop her thesis project into a novel – a multigenerational family saga following a Chinese grandma, mother and daughter. 

“Professor Varallo encouraged me to go with this particular topic, and to stumble down the path of an expansive novel,” she says. “He was like a window and a mirror at the same time, in the sense that he affirmed some of my choices and shined a new light on the others. My manuscript would not have been the same without his guidance.” 

Her career, it turns out, may not have been the same without that manuscript, which caught the eye of a William Morris Endeavor literary agent visiting campus for the Dorothea Benton Frank “Industry Talks” series last March. 

Before long, the agent offered her a contract with the agency – a gamechanger for both her career and her confidence. 

“It does mean a lot to have the affirmation from the outside world, to have an experienced agent see value in my writing,” says Kovacs.  

“I will always try to write from a place of truth, a place of genuine curiosity,” she adds. “I guess I’ll start from there and give it my best, one sentence at a time, page by page.” 

Lucas Moyon ’23
Research assistant with the Federal Reserve

Pushing the limits and seeing the intersection of things is somethingLucas Moyon loves to do.  

“I realized college would be my last time to do random things without judgement, so I explored a lot of different fields to determine what I want to do,” says the economics, physics and astronomy triple major with the Honors College.  

His first year, the Charleston Fellow and Colonial Scholar applied for an internship with the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.   

“It was right at the beginning of the pandemic and the intern they selected pulled out, so I got it,” says Moyon. “Ever since, my one unique experience has led to others. It’s my ‘Vibes Theory of Jobs’ — landing a job is 90% vibe and 10% experience.”   

Moyon’s vibe must be off the charts. In addition to being Market Process Scholar and member of the business fraternity Phi Chi Theta – Zeta Phi, he participated in a week-long colloquium in Vermont on Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose and Capitalism is Freedom. He took full advantage of networking with professors, donors and alumni, including presenting to the College of Charleston Foundation Board and participating in a #MaroonMemories fireside chat with Charleston philanthropist Anita Zucker. For his leadership and academic excellence, Moyon received the John Lewis Gervais Jr. Award, the School of Business Schottland Leadership Award and the Fanchon Morrow Condon Outstanding Economics Student Award.   

In July, the native of Rock Hill, South Carolina, will join the Federal Reserve in Washington, D.C., as a research assistant, a job he landed because all his random experiences came together. 

“They want graduates with a more quantitative side for research, so they got really excited about my bachelor’s essay on inflation and my applied physics skills,” says Moyon, who also noted they were wowed by his internship with the U.S. Department of Justice during his junior year.  

Moyon serves as a testament that trying new things and pushing yourself really can open doors. 

Jaheim President ’23
Teacher at Berea Middle School in Greenville, South Carolina

Once you’ve met him, you won’t forget Jaheim President. His larger-than-life personality and his overwhelming positive attitude are extraordinary. Given that, it only seems fitting that he – and the rest of the world – learned about his acceptance to the College on television. 

Along with his close friend Darius Smith, President was invited to California as a high school senior to appear on the The Ellen Show. He was told they were flying to California for a conference about the teaching profession, which included tickets to the show. While in the audience, host Ellen DeGeneres brought President and Smith on stage to announce that the College had accepted them and would pay their tuition for four years. In addition, DeGeneres and company (backed by Cheerios) presented both young men a check for $20,000 and donated $10,000 to the high school they attended. 

“That was amazing,” recalls President. “I was shocked and surprised when she called us down to the stage. I thought we were there just to see the show. The College was my top choice, and I was getting nervous that I wouldn’t be accepted.” 

President enrolled as a participant in the Call Me MISTER Program, a statewide initiative designed to address the critical shortage of African American male teachers. He regards that involvement as a highlight of his time at CofC, serving as the program’s campus president while pursuing his major in middle grades education. 

“It’s a very powerful program and something that’s really needed across our state,” explains the recipient of the Representative Floyd Breeland Scholarship. “I didn’t have my father growing up, so my teachers really impacted my life. I believe teaching is the greatest way I can give back to what they have done for me.” 

And that – giving back – has become a compass for President’s life. Next year, he will be teaching at Berea Middle School in Greenville, South Carolina. It’s a Title 1 school where many students come from low-income households, and he feels confident he can make a big difference in the lives of his future students. Privately, on his Instagram account (@CallMePres), he offers encouragement for more than 4,000 followers. He often urges them to “dream big, do big!” – precisely what President has been doing for the past four years. 

“My college experience has been a wild one, but I realize that everything I’ve been taught has shaped me, both the easy lessons and the hard ones,” he says. “Graduating in four years is a big accomplishment for me, but now I know that investing in myself this way is going to pay off for others.” 

Olivia Yalden ’23
Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University

Amazing opportunities await if you are willing to put yourself out there: That’s what Olivia Yalden has discovered during her time at the College.   

“There are so many amazing professors who will go above and beyond for you by pushing you to take advantage of opportunities like research, leadership positions and study abroad: the biggest challenge will be allowing yourself to believe you are capable of taking advantage of these opportunities,” says the public health major in the Honors College.   

Yalden has appreciated the individualized attention and experiential learning opportunities she’s had at CofC. The Swanson ICAT Endowed Scholarship recipient particularly enjoyed the Entrepreneurship Living Learning Community, where her hands-on experiences included serving as E-LLC student director. Yalden also participated in hydration research that was published and held leadership positions for mentoring cohorts.   

During her junior year, Yalden worked as a behavior health and health policy intern at the research company Westat. “It was a great way to gain advanced technical skills and gain exposure to how a successful public health corporation operates and collaborates with other agencies and organizations,” she says.  

Yalden attributes her achievements to her professors and peers. “The faculty at CofC truly take an interest in their students and care about their personal and academic success,” she explains. “The community and family-like structure of the College has helped me to be the most successful version of myself.” 

In the fall, Yalden will attend George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health in Washington, D.C. 

“I am getting my Master of Public Health with a biostatistics concentration because I am passionate about working in infectious disease control,” says Yalden. “With biostatistics, I hope to learn quantitative methods to study the spread of infectious diseases that plague our communities and contribute to efforts that control the spread of viruses like COVID-19, Ebola and Zika.”