“In this college, you are supporting the next top chefs, nutritionists, non-profit directors, family counselors, interior designers, merchandising buyers and fashion designers such as myself. My college education would not be possible without each of you. So, thank you for investing in the little girl who used to make handbags for her dolls and dreamed of her clothes being on the runway. You all are making her dreams come true.”- Nylah Bluiett, scholarship recipient in the College of Human Sciences.
The Auburn University College of Human Sciences recognized scholarship donors and recipients at a recent Scholarship Luncheon allowing life-changing stories to be shared. For the 2022-23 academic year, more than 90 scholarships were awarded in Human Sciences for more than $225,000.
Nylah Bluiett, a junior in the Apparel Design program and a recipient of the Dorry Ann Johnston Blackburn Endowed Scholarship, established in 2006, shared her heartfelt testimony of how this scholarship opened seemingly closed doors, allowing her to chase her dreams. Here is Nylah’s story in her own words as she shared with all in attendance at the Scholarship Luncheon:
War Eagle everyone. My name is Nylah Bluiett, and I am a junior in the Apparel Design program at the College of Human Sciences. I am so thankful for the opportunity to express my gratitude for all of your generous donations that make my education possible and for the opportunity to tell my Auburn story.
I try to live my life per the Auburn Creed and the line that stands out to me the most is the second stanza which says “I believe in education, which gives me the knowledge to work wisely and trains my mind and my hands to work skillfully.” The value of a good education and the importance of attaining knowledge is an idea that has been ingrained in me by my mother and grandmother. My grandmother was unable to attend college, but through hard work, she ensured that all of her children had the opportunity of attending a four-year institution. This perseverance and work ethic was passed down to my mother who now works as a professor at Samford University. Because of the nature of my mother’s occupation, I was essentially raised on a college campus, where the classroom was my playground, and I was the cool kid because a lot of my friends were the “college age.” This allowed me to be exposed to the vast benefits of a college education at a young age and I knew one day I wanted to attend a university myself.
I have aspired to work as a fashion designer since I was eight years old. It all began when I noticed a few older girls at my church sketching dresses on the corner of our Sunday School worksheets and I thought it was the coolest thing. I used to force my cousins to have fashion shows with me, where I would wrap them in blankets and tie strings around them to make them look like a dress. I also took to making clothes for my dolls using this cheap sewing kit my mom bought from Dollar Tree. For my 10th birthday my mom, I mean Santa … bought me a sewing machine, and the rest is history. I want to make clothing that accentuates a person’s inner beauty and makes them feel confident each day, and I look forward to making a great impact on the fashion industry one stitch at a time.
When I got to high school, and it was time to pick a college, I knew that I wanted to pick a university that had a good design program but also was generous in its scholarships and financial aid offer. I grew up an Auburn football fan, and after I discovered that Auburn had a highly recognized design program, I knew I needed to pay a visit to the Plains. After my first tour of the university, I fell in love with the campus, the community and the people. Everyone was so kind and made a point of making me feel like more than a number during my visit. I felt like I was being welcomed with open arms into the place that God had always ordained for me to be. After seeing the celebratory Aubie in my email indicating my acceptance, my mother and I had to have the tough conversation that many students have to have about what we could afford in terms of college.
She was a single parent and was the primary source of income in my household. As much as she wanted to make my wildest dreams come true, we both knew that it was going to take a generous financial aid offer to make it happen. I knew that if I didn’t get the assistance I needed to be able to attend a school, I would likely have to defer college for a year or attend a local community college and transfer in. I put in hard work throughout my four years of high school to ensure that I was a good candidate for scholarships and so that I would be able to attend a university and achieve my lifelong dream of being a designer. After receiving my acceptance, I applied for as many scholarships as I could find and was blessed to receive enough financial aid to cover my full tuition. Without those scholarships, I would not be able to attend Auburn and reap the many benefits that our school has to offer.
Because of your generous gifts, I have the privilege of attending this prestigious university and being a member of this amazing design program. Your donations allow me the opportunity to not only pay for my tuition fees but also assist in purchasing supplementary materials, such as textbooks, fabric and other sewing supplies. Within this department, I have the opportunity to learn from industry professionals and I truly feel like I am being set up for a successful career in fashion. I am so thankful that you all continue to sew a monetary seed into the College of Human Sciences and therefore into the education of the next generation. In this college, you are supporting the next top chefs, nutritionists, non-profit directors, family counselors, interior designers, merchandising buyers and fashion designers such as myself. My college education would not be possible without each of you. So, thank you for investing in the little girl who used to make handbags for her dolls and dreamed of her clothes being on the runway. You all are making her dreams come true. Thank you!
Dorry Ann Johnston Blackburn, who attended the College of Human Sciences in the early 1950s, established the endowed scholarship in her name to show her appreciation of the guidance and inspiration she received from her professors in what was then home economics.
Scholarships and fellowships can be funded on an annual and endowed basis. For more information, contact the College of Human Sciences Office of Advancement at 334.844.3719 or firstname.lastname@example.org.