Scholarship recipient pays it forward

United Methodist Student Day scholarship recipient Jessica Doss has big dreams.

The University of North Georgia student wants to travel the world and "teach others about the importance of cultural diversity." She also wants to help The United Methodist Church, which has played an important role on her life's journey.

She is already lending a hand at Union Hill United Methodist Church in Canton, Georgia, where she's a children's teacher and a member of the youth committee. She also is helping raise money for future mission trips.

"I believe I am helping make a difference in the world by helping the children within my church experience God's love and help them understand all that He does for us by helping them comprehend the stories of the Bible, as well as reading God's Word," she said.

"(The United Methodist Church) has had a major impact on my life by teaching me about God's love and helping me survive the rough patches I have come across."

Doss said her childhood was filled with more joys than challenges, but her family did face tough times, including the death of her grandfather and financial difficulties.

Still, Doss held onto her positive outlook and her faith. 

"It was nothing a little patience and God's guidance couldn't fix," she said.

Doss lists her family, friends, school and being able to help her community — through the Girl Scouts, the Junior Optimist Club and various church groups — among the many positives in her life.

"My life growing up was good; my parents were the best parents, and they are the ones who shaped me into the person I am today," she said.

That person is one who is determined to make a difference in the world, and her fellow United Methodists have had a hand in that.

Her church's youth minister helped guide her through "the many opportunities The United Methodist Church has to offer," including the scholarship she was awarded. She encourages United Methodists to continue to give generously on United Methodist Student Day.

"The church should support United Methodist Student Day because it gives students like me a chance to receive a higher education and hopefully contribute to the greater good in God's name. … With that education, I am aiming to make the world a better and safer place for future generations."

As for Doss' future, she hopes to live in Germany for a time to expand her knowledge of the country's language and culture while she continues to look for her dream job.

"I would love to combine my love of history and travel into one job, and I am still searching for that 'perfect' job. In the meantime, I would like to work as a museum curator after I have completed my master's in history, or maybe as a high school history teacher.

"I have faith that God will lead me on the right path for the goal that He has in plan for me."

Julie Dwyer, general church content editor, United Methodist Communications

One of six churchwide Special Sundays with offerings of The United Methodist Church, United Methodist Student Day calls the church to support students as they prepare for life in uniting faith with knowledge. The special offering provides scholarships for qualified United Methodist applicants. 

When you give generously on United Methodist Student Day, you support students as they prepare for life in uniting faith with knowledge. Give now.