Hewitt alum receives Alfa scholarship
By Erik Harris
TRUSSVILLE – Former Hewitt-Trussville student Amanda Viikinsalo, who currently studies at UAB, has been named one of 100 recipients of this year’s Alfa Foundation scholarship.
“I make it a point to not expect any scholarships that I apply for, so everything that I get comes up a wonderful surprise,” said Viikinsalo.
As a recipient, the upcoming senior will receive $1,000 for tuition, books, fees and school supplies. She was chosen from a pool of more than 1,300 high school, college and technical school students.
“I did not realize it was going to be that competitive,” she said. “I basically work to pay my way through college, so that’s a huge relief. I’m always a little bit short each semester in trying to cover for everything, so (this) goes so far.”
The 100 recipients were chosen based on work experience, academic record, future goals, participation in school and community activities, and honors.
“I’ve been super involved in the university honors program as well as various organizations across campus, but it says a lot that I’ve been able to juggle as many jobs that I’ve held as well as the extracurricular (activities) that I’m involved in,” said Viikinsalo.
Viikinsalo represents one of two Jefferson County students to win the Alfa scholarship. Lindsay Higgins of Sylvan Springs also was selected. Higgins currently attends Birmingham-Southern College and is a member of the Jefferson County International Baccalaureate School alumni family.
“In our household, we know the impact of rising tuition costs, as our son recently graduated college and our daughter will be a college freshman this fall,” said Jimmy Parnell, president of Alfa Insurance. “We hope our gift will make it easier for the recipients to focus on studies and gaining professional experience, rather than worrying about paying for their education.”
As Viikinsalo looks beyond her undergraduate days at UAB, she hopes to continue her academic career as a graduate student studying abroad.
“I’m thinking that graduate school is the most probable thing to happen, but it’s all up in the air,” said Viikinsalo. “We’ll see what life throws at me.”