Jamirika Randall is one of the 34,000 students across the country who applied to The Gates Scholarship (TGS), a highly selective scholarship for outstanding minority high school seniors from low-income households. The scholarship provides complete funding for all collegiate expenses not funded by other scholarships to the college of their choice.

“The College of Charleston was my first choice,” says Randall. “I came to the College the summer after my junior year and participated in the Senior Project, which gave me a good sense of the campus and classes. I’d visited Charleston when I was younger and, after spending time on campus, it felt like I belonged here.”

A sense of belonging holds great importance for Randall, who shares a close bond with her family. She attributes her strong work ethic and determination to the women in her life who have served as role models. Before Randall was born, her mother made the courageous decision to move from Jamaica to South Carolina. In order to secure a job and earn her citizenship, Carol had to leave her four children behind. During this time, Randall’s godmother provided support and encouragement, always urging her to strive for excellence in her studies.

“I was 5 years old when I met my siblings for the first time, and was able to help my family study and eventually pass their citizenship test based on what I was learning in school,” says the first-generation student, whose family was extremely proud when she was accepted to the College of Charleston and even more so when she was awarded The Gates Scholarship.

Upon graduating from North Myrtle Beach High School, Randall attended TGS Summer Institute, where she networked, became engaged in various other activities and topics regarding college, and learned how to leverage the resources available to her.

Jamirika Randall

Jamirika Randall, 1967 Legacy Scholar in the College of Charleston Honors College (Photo by Catie Cleveland)

“I was able to meet so many like-minded people,” she says. “It was a really great experience seeing so many other low-income minority students achieving so much and being recognized for their hard work.”

As a first-year student in the Honors College, Randall is already engaged in a variety of academic and extracurricular activities. A double major in biology and international studies, she is a Charleston Fellow and International Scholar, as well as a 1967 Legacy Scholar.

“We at the College of Charleston were over the moon when Jamirika Randall picked our institution as her home for the next four years – it is such a coup when a student of her caliber decides to attend the College,” says Valerie Frazier ’91 (M.P.A. ’94), associate professor of English and director of the 1967 Legacy Program. “Jamirika is a joy both in and outside of the classroom, lighting up the room with her smile and inspiring us with her thoughtful comments. She is brilliant, committed to social justice, and hardworking – all of the qualities we look for in an exemplary Legacy Scholar. Jamirika is excited about expanding her horizons and going to Jamaica as a part of the First Year Experience Spring Break 2024. I have no doubt that our future is in good hands with next generation leaders such as Jamirika.”