Georgia United Foundation Announces 2019 Scholarship Winners

Updated: Apr 23, 2019

Debbie Smith, Georgia United Credit Union’s president and CEO, is pictured with the 2019 scholarship winners on Thursday, April 18, 2019. Pictured left to right: Bennett Mathis, Hailey Akins, Amelia Westmoreland and Bryson Joyce.

Georgia United Foundation is excited to name four Georgia high school seniors as recipients of their 2019 scholarship competition. This marks the 25th year of the scholarship program, named for the credit union’s founder, Vernon E. Carne and notable board members Geraldine Tilson, Dorothy Dusenberry Pirkle and Polly Hinde.

Winners were selected based on a creative video submission with additional consideration given to academic accomplishments, leadership and participation in both school and community activities.

Congratulations to the 2019 winners:

Amelia Westmoreland received the Vernon E. Carne scholarship for $10,000.

Westmoreland is a senior at Sequoyah High School in Canton, a recent graduate of Teen Leadership Cherokee and a member of National Beta Club, Student Government Association and Latin Club. In addition, Westmoreland is a six-year All-State Chorus member who has held leading roles in school and community theatre productions. Summers were held for extracurricular experiences that included experimenting, volunteering and conducting research in genetics, oncology and oceanography. In the fall, Westmoreland will attend Mercer University majoring in biochemistry with additional specialization in marine biology – programs that will aid Westmoreland in her career ambition of finding a cure for cancer.

Bennett Mathis received the Geraldine Tilson scholarship for $7,500.

Mathis is a dual-enrollment student at Forsyth Central High School in Cumming and at the University of North Georgia. To gain exposure in the medical field, Mathis has shadowed nurses assisting patients and doctors performing surgeries at a local outpatient surgery center. In his free time, Mathis volunteers at local children’s hospitals and nursing homes. Mathis will continue his studies at University of North Georgia in the fall to prepare for his career goal of becoming a nurse practitioner and providing healthcare to the underserved and underprivileged communities across the globe.

Hailey Akins received the Dorothy Dusenberry Pirkle scholarship for $5,000.

Akins is a senior at South Forsyth High School in Cumming who holds noteworthy leadership positions including: Science National Honor Society vice president, National Merit Finalist, Future Business Leaders of America squad leader, Elementary Science Olympiad Competition proctor, South Forsyth Middle School Math Competition proctor and TED Talks speaker for South Forsyth High School. Akins actively tutors students in mathematics and volunteers with programs that encourage STEM fields to young students. Akins plans to major in chemistry at Georgia Institute of Technology to pursue her career ambition of becoming a chemistry research professor and conduct research on sustainable energy resources.

Bryson Joyce received the Polly Hinde scholarship for $5,000.

Joyce is a senior at Rockdale County High School in Conyers who serves as president of the RCHS Voice Club which promotes healthy lifestyles among teens by bringing awareness to topics such as bully prevention, domestic violence and human trafficking. In addition, Joyce is a debate team member and actively volunteers in community food drives and at the Conyers-Rockdale Council of the Arts. Joyce plans to pursue a degree in biomedical engineering at Georgia Southern University and aspires to engineer prosthetic limbs, organs and stem cells to improve the quality of life of those in his community.

About the Georgia United Foundation

Georgia United Foundation is committed to improving the quality of life for children and families in the communities they serve through impactful programs funded and delivered through volunteerism by way of corporate contributions, team members and community efforts. The Foundation is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) charitable organization and is the philanthropic arm of Georgia United Credit Union. For details on volunteering, participating or donating, visit

About Georgia United Credit Union Georgia United Credit Union, headquartered in Duluth, is ranked as one of the top credit unions in Georgia with over $1.3 billion in assets, 163,000 members and 19 branch locations. As a full-service financial institution, they offer competitive products and services for every stage of life. Visit to learn more and follow the credit union on Facebook at, Twitter @GAUnitedCU and Instagram @gucucares.

Georgia United Foundation


Phone: 770.476.6409

Address: 6705 Sugarloaf Parkway,  Duluth, GA 30097

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