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Belch Receives Criminal Justice Scholarship

By Rob Goldberg Jr.
PCC Media Relations Director

Brooke Belch (second from right) receives the 2014 John Minges Criminal Justice Scholarship from PCC Criminal Justice Department Chair Phil Baggett, Public Services and Fine Arts Dean Dan Mayo and Criminal Justice Instructor Dawn Vaughan, left to right.

WINTERVILLE—The Pitt Community College Public Services and Fine Arts Division presented the John Minges Criminal Justice Scholarship this month to student Brooke Belch in recognition of her classroom excellence.

Belch, a Greenville resident, will graduate from the criminal justice program in December. She plans to transfer to N.C. Wesleyan College in January to study both criminal justice and psychology.

Through the Minges Scholarship, the 21-year-old Belch will receive $500 to help offset the cost of her educational expenses. She says she was “completely shocked” to learn she had won the award.

“This is my first scholarship,” Belch said. “And knowing my teachers chose me and found me most deserving is a real honor.”

PCC Criminal Justice Instructor Dawn Vaughan says the Minges Scholarship will go a long way toward helping Belch achieve her academic pursuits and goal of becoming a forensic psychologist.

“Brooke knows the value of an education …,” Vaughan said. “She feels that by working in the criminal justice system, she can make a difference in other people's lives.”

Belch, who says she is trying to set a good example for her two younger siblings, credits her mother with emphasizing the value of education.

“My mom has always told me when it comes to my education, ‘just do something,’ meaning don't ever stop moving forward in your education—even if you aren't completely certain of what you want to do,” she said. “So, with that, I went into PCC having no idea what I was going to do with a criminal justice degree. But as soon as classes started, I found my passion and my niche.”

Belch says her criminal justice instructors have contributed to her academic success, calling them “nothing short of wonderful.”

“They have helped me through my questions, comments and concerns – sometimes school-related and sometimes personal,” she added.

Despite working full-time, Belch has excelled in the classroom and as an active member of PCC’s Criminal Justice Association and Gamma Sigma Phi National Honor Society. Away from the classroom, she says one of her proudest achievements has been coaching the Pitt County Special Olympics roller skating team.

Applicants for the Minges Scholarship must be second-year students with a minimum 3.0 grade point average and at least 24 credit hours earned from PCC’s Criminal Justice program. They must also submit a completed application that is accompanied by two letters of recommendation and a writing sample.