An aspiring businesswoman and a future attorney are the latest Lewis Scholarship recipients seeking higher education at the University of Central Florida (UCF). The Foundation announced awardees Lauren King and Nacoyas Williams as part of the second cohort of students to receive the full ride scholarship. They join 8 Bahamian students currently studying in Orlando, Fl.
Lauren King will enter the UCF as a freshman pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies. Born in Grand Bahama, King and her family relocated to Nassau where she attended Carlton Francis and S. C. McPherson schools before transferring to Queen’s College for grade 9.
In high school, she remained active both in and out of the classroom as a member of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force Rangers program and a basketball player. After an impressive first year at Queen’s College, King was awarded an academic scholarship which she maintained until her graduation in 2019.
Today, the 19-year-old is focused on a career path she feels is underrepresented in the country—maritime and aviation law. Before transferring to UCF, she began the process studying Law and Criminal Justice at the University of The Bahamas.
“I want to specialize in maritime and aviation law because it is underrepresented and is vitally needed,” King explained. This summer, she interned at a law firm in Nassau to get a sense of the opportunities available to young professionals looking to make an impact in the field.
With the country ranking in the top three ship registries in the world and with an expanding aviation sector, King believes that the jurisdiction could benefit from more persons specializing in maritime and aviation law. After completing her bachelor’s degree at UCF, she hopes to pursue a Juris Doctor law degree and attend law school in the United States before returning home to The Bahamas.
“I would like to thank the Lewis Scholarship Foundation for giving me the opportunity. This scholarship means a new beginning for me. A new opportunity to actually achieve the goals that I have for myself and the goals that I have for The Bahamas,” King shared.
One of five siblings, she is inspired by the strength and resilience of her mother, Christiana King who, despite the odds and financial challenges, continues to encourage her children’s ambitions. Once established in her own career, King hopes to establish a foundation to help law students with financial challenges reach their professional goals.
This Fall, 25-year-old Nacoyas Williams also be joining fellow Bahamian Lewis Scholarship Foundation recipients at UCF. The aspiring businesswoman is a transfer student from Valencia College in Orlando, Fl entering into her junior year as a Business Management major. Growing up in Nassau, Williams’ knack for business emerged as a member of the Junior Achievement (J.A.) program. She held the position of Vice President of Production in her J.A. company and won several competitions while attending St. Augustine’s College.
Williams entered the workforce for four years after high school. In her downtime, she started a lash application business. Eager to learn more about entrepreneurship, she decided to obtain a formal education in business management starting first at the University of The Bahamas and then transitioning to Valencia College in Florida in early 2020.
“When I first came, the pandemic was a bit of a challenge because I wasn’t able to create connections and network. As soon as I was getting ready to join clubs, we had to lockdown and attend school online,” Williams said.
During the early months of the global pandemic, the former board member of the Bahamas Screen and Stage Association created a short film called Race Against Time to shed light on the difficulties faced by children seeking to adapt to online learning. Williams is now looking forward to more face-to-face interaction in the fall as she transitions to UCF to complete her degree and being one step closer to fulfilling her career goals.
“I see myself as a very successful and well-educated entrepreneur contributing as much as I can to the Bahamian economy. I really admire people that actually go after what they want instead of just doing what everybody else wants. I feel like everybody has a purpose and it’s very difficult to go after what you want especially if it’s an unorthodox career path.”
Williams continued: “I want to create an organization where I can afford young Bahamians financial literacy program where they can learn how to allocate their cash and understand the ins and out of savings and investing. I am trying to learn as much as I can so that I can offer more input in different industries.”
In addition to her business aspirations, Williams would also like to use her degree to develop a talent agency to ensure Bahamians benefit fully from the local film industry.
Andrica Smith-Munroe, Lewis Scholarship Foundation’s Outreach Coordinator congratulated the awardees on being selected. “Lauren and Nacoyas will now join our Lewis Scholarship Foundation family at UCF and begin to make their mark in the new environment. They have both demonstrated a level of resilience in their pursuit of education despite the challenges faced to date. We are pleased to welcome them as part of the second cohort and look forward to continuing to working closely with them to see their educational goals through to completion.”
Founded in 2018, the Lewis Foundation Scholarship is open to Bahamian citizens seeking to complete a four-year degree in any field of study at UCF. Applicants must have a high school diploma from a Bahamian secondary school and must demonstrate a financial need. In addition to tuition, the scholarship covers room and board, books and other related expenses. The Foundation awards up to eight scholarships per academic school year. The deadline to apply for the Spring 2022 cohort is September 1, 2021. For more information, visit www.lewisscholarship.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.