Shamika Terrell is a Minor Preston Educational Fund alumna, an educator, and an Advisor in the Minor Preston Scholars Program. Her long association with the Minor Preston Fund and her dedication to its mission serve to inspire other alumni desiring to give back in support of the next generation of students.
A 1997 graduate of Charlottesville High School, Shamika Terrell earned a B.S. from the University of Virginia in 2001 and a M.S. in Guidance and Counseling from Longwood University in 2003. She received a Minor Preston Fund scholarship during her years at Charlottesville High School. Following graduation, she began a school counseling career in Henry County Public Schools in Martinsville, Virginia, where she served as an elementary school counselor at John Redd Elementary School. Since 2015, she has served as a School Counselor at Monticello High School and is currently a Career Specialist there. As a counselor, she has advocated for the Minor Preston Fund, identifying students—especially those who are first generation to go to college—who might benefit most from the academic advising at the core of the Minor Preston Scholars Program.
Shamika’s association with the Minor Preston Fund began in 1997 when she received financial assistance through the Fund’s original scholarship program. Reflecting years later upon the importance of that assistance for her education and career, she noted:
“This fund has helped to make college a reality for so many individuals in our community and over the years I am still in awe of how impactful it really has been. Being a first generation college student myself, it was not the easiest to navigate the college process. By having the financial support from Minor Preston it helped to put my mind at ease and allowed me to focus solely on my academics instead of the cost of college. I’m extremely grateful for the support and encouragement that I have received over the years. As an educator I believe that all students can succeed.
Shamika’s generous contribution of experience and time, and her dedication to the mission of the Minor Preston Fund have come at a pivotal period in its history. She served on the Fund’s Board of Directors in 2012. While on the Board, she was a member of the committee that recommended the Fund establish a program that would include long-term and intensive engagement with each of the students it supports. This recommendation led in 2014 to the creation of the Minor Preston Scholars Program. When the program expanded the following year, Shamika joined the Advisor Corps and has served since then as Advisor to two Scholars.
The experience as an Advisor in the Minor Preston Scholars Program has been gratifying for Shamika. She has watched the program develop from concept to reality and has seen the benefits of advising for both Scholars and Advisors. She writes:
“I once came across a quote that really describes my role as an advisor. This is the Heart of Mentoring: “Getting the most of out of life isn’t about how much you keep for yourself but how much you pour into others.” As an advisor in the Minor Preston Scholars Program, I love giving back to my community by providing first generation college students with support while they are in college and beyond. I realize that without the Minor Preston family and others believing in me I wouldn’t be where I am today without the continuous support and as an Advisor I strive to deliver that same support and encouragement. “
From her time twenty years ago as a Minor Preston Fund scholarship recipient to her role today as an advocate for the Scholars Program and one of its first Advisors, Shamika Terrell has set a path for other alumni to follow in giving back to the Minor Preston Fund. Her service is a testament to the Fund’s ability to kindle the flame of education from one generation to the next.