Kirby earns full-tuition scholarship through Degree of Change video competition
By Kim Chaudoin |
Serving others is something that Greg Kirby does on a daily basis as minister at Woodbine Family Church of Christ, which works closely with Youth Encouragement Services, located in South Nashville, an area with a high-concentration of low-income families.
As the recipient of a full-tuition scholarship for a graduate business degree from Lipscomb University’s College of Business, Kirby will be able to expand that service as he acquires additional business knowledge to help launch Carpenter’s Square, a facility to serve youth in that community.
Kirby was announced today as the winner of the College of Business’ Degrees of Difference Full Scholarship Video Competition, through which the producer of the video entry receiving the most votes online receives a full-tuition scholarship to a graduate business program. He was among five finalists vying for the scholarship.
“The stories of our finalists are very compelling,” said Lisa Shacklett, assistant dean of the Lipscomb University College of Business. “Through this endeavor, they discover the reach and impact that one life can have on others. It touches me that these individuals want to improve their skills not merely for self-improvement and advancement but mostly so they can help others. Our program is about degrees of change. It’s not just a catch phrase or tagline. It’s what people see when they look at our program and realize that it's not just about getting an education. It’s about impacting lives.”
Kirby said he is excited about the potential a graduate business education will have on him and his dream of impacting his community.
“There are vast resources in Nashville and what I try to do in my work is to put those to work in the Woodbine neighborhood and church,” said Kirby, a native of Murphy, N.C. “There is a need to show the kids in this neighborhood how they can take care of others and that they don’t have to leave their community to be successful. We want to equip them with the tools and the belief that they can go to college and they can make a difference where they are and where they live. This graduate business degree will help get these initiatives off the ground.”
Carpenter’s Square is a concept that Kirby hopes will not only serve as a home for those in the Woodbine community to live while they attend college, but also a place for youth to gather and work with a coffee house, day care and other features. He plans to apply the business knowledge he acquires while pursuing his graduate business degree in nonprofit management over the next 24 months.
Contest finalists used a variety of methods to market their videos and to solicit votes. Shacklett said the competition gave finalists an opportunity to be innovative and use technology that they use in their professions to encourage their colleagues, family and friends to vote for their videos. Kirby, who graduated from Lipscomb University in 2002 with an undergraduate degree in Bible and communication, has worked in youth ministry for more than a decade. He said in that role he has used a variety of means to communicate with students and others in the community.
“It was interesting what worked with the various audiences that I tried to reach,” he said. “Instagram worked with a younger population, while Twitter was more effective with college-age students. Facebook worked well with a different demographic, and email was effective with my grandmother who represented another age group. Many of the students who I work with at Woodbine Family Church or Y.E.S. don’t have access to some of the smartphones or technology. But, they were instrumental in talking to people face-to-face to encourage them to go online and vote for my video. They were a part of this from the beginning, and can feel like they were a part of making a difference in their neighborhood as a result.”
More than 35,000 votes were cast during the 11-day voting period, which ended at midnight on June 20. Votes came in from across the country and from a number of sites around the world including Germany, Nicaragua, South Korea, the Ukraine, Japan, the United Kingdom, the Philippines and Canada.
Kirby will begin his studies this fall. As part of the program, Kirby will post a monthly video blog on onedegreeaway.lipscomb.edu about his experience at Lipscomb as well as how his studies are helping him pursue his goal of making a degree of change in the world.