August 30, 2010

Student creates 'Peanut Scholarship Fund'

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- There’s being sympathetic, and then there’s trying to solve the problem.

Stephen Ross, a Southern Illinois University Carbondale student from Chicago majoring in agribusiness economics, saw a problem and decided to do his best to fix it. And so was born the Peanut Scholarship Fund.

The new, need-based scholarship will be for SIUC students in good academic standing whose parents are unable to provide financial support because of crime -- either because the parent or parents are incarcerated, or because the parent or parents are victims of a crime.

The name of the scholarship reflects the nickname of a boy whose father is incarcerated. The father is Ross’ friend. Looking at his friend’s situation, particularly looking into the future, Ross realized that, without his father’s support, “Peanut” would have an uphill battle into college. The scholarship, which Ross hopes to develop into a “full-ride” scholarship, would help “Peanut” and others like him.

The first fundraiser for the Peanut Scholarship Fund is set for 4-8 p.m. on Sept. 8 in the SIUC Student Center. Admission is $3 and includes a screening of the Norwegian film, “Troubled Water.” The movie tells the story of a young man recently released from prison, and what happens when he encounters the victims of his crime. The Criminal Justice Association, a Registered Student Organization, sponsors this event.

For more information about the Peanut Scholarship Fund and other criminology and criminal justice-related scholarships, see