Ds Scholarship

Her childhood love of video games—plus hard work—led to a Computing Excellence Scholarship at UNA

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Candice Buford at UNA. (UNA)

Candice Buford loved playing video games with her big brother when she was a kid. Little did she dream that one day she’d receive a Computing Excellence Scholarship that would make it possible for her to attend the University of North Alabama (UNA). Here is her story.

Meet Candice Buford

Candice Buford is a first-year computer science major at UNA. Originally from Olive Branch, Mississippi, she graduated from Center Hill High School.

Her activities included playing on the basketball team, running on the track team, serving on the student council and being a member of both the National Honor and National Technical Honor Societies. On top of all that, she was crowned Winterfest Queen, which is no small honor.

When it came time to look at colleges, UNA was the first one to reach out to her. Once she visited, she fell in love with the campus immediately.

For fun, she likes to listen to music, watch TV and basketball.

Want to study computing? Check out UNA’s Computing Excellence Scholarship today.

Buford’s experience at UNA so far

1st day at UNA
Nothing like a good first day of school pic. (Candice Buford)

At UNA, Buford’s the manager of the women’s basketball team, and she’s recently been accepted to be a summer orientation leader for first-time students.

“I’ve loved it since I’ve gotten here. Campus is beautiful, I like the faculty and staff and we have a lot of resources here that can help you with your studies.”

Deciding to go into computer science + what it’s like

Buford traced her decision to go into computer science back to her love of playing video games as a kid. Whether she was playing or watching her big brother play, she always wanted to figure out how the games and graphics worked.

“My mom said, ‘What do you want to do when you get to college?’ At the time, I didn’t know, but people always say ‘go into something you like.’ Video games are what I like. So, that’s why I chose computer science.””

Candice Buford

Buford said when she was younger, she wasn’t aware of all the coding that goes into games, but now that she’s doing it, she enjoys coding and says her biggest regret is not going to coding camps when she was younger.

That said, to anyone who’s thinking about applying and doesn’t have coding experience, she says, “Go for it! Put yourself out there—otherwise, you’ll never know. I had no code experience going in, but the faculty are definitely ready to help you learn.”

Applying for the Computing Excellence Scholarship

graduation, before UNA
Buford and her family at graduation. (Candice Buford)

When Buford’s mom saw a post on UNA’s Instagram, she said, “You’re going to apply to this, because you’ve got to find a way to pay for college.”

To apply, Buford had to provide a reference letter, then record a little video explaining who she is, why she wanted the scholarship and why she wanted to major in computer science.

Getting the scholarship meant she could actually go to UNA, rather than the community college that had offered her a full ride, and that has made all the difference.

Learn more about eligibility requirements and how to apply here:

Apply now for UNA’s Computing Excellence Scholarships. Visit the College of Business and Information Technology’s website + follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

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