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Regions Bank Awards 30 Scholarships in honor of Black History Month in 2017 Regions Riding Forward Essay Contest

More than $125,000 in educational assistance awarded through this year’s contest.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Regions Bank has announced the 2017 winners of the annual Regions Riding Forward Scholarship Essay Contest. The contest, held for the last six years, celebrates Black History Month by allowing high school seniors and college students who reside or attend college within its geographic footprint to submit an essay about how an African-American has been an inspiration in the applicant’s life.

This year’s 30 contest winners, selected from more than 7,000 entries, will divide more than $125,000 in scholarship funds – winning high school seniors each receive $5,000 and winning college students each receive $3,500. One scholarship in each category is awarded in each of the 15 states served by Regions branches.

Winners of the 2017 Regions Riding Forward Scholarship Essay Contest are as follows (winner and essays can also be found at

High School Winners

  • Samantha Bell – Montgomery, Ala. (will attend Auburn University)
  • Allison Bernardino – Johns Creek, Ga. (will attend University of the South)
  • Cameron Blann – Little Rock, Ark. (will attend University of Arkansas)
  • Taylor Crayton – New Orleans, La. (will attend Tuskegee University)
  • Dylan Galbiati – Highland, Ill. (will attend McKendree University)
  • Jayla Gittens – Concord, N.C. (will attend Spelman College)
  • Jalen Hodges – Fort Mill, S.C. (will attend University of South Carolina-Columbia)
  • A’Keeriyanna Jones – Greenwood, Miss (will attend University of Mississippi)
  • Kristin Lyons – Elizabethton, Tenn. (will attend University of Tennessee)
  • Isabela Mata – Davie, Fla. (will attend George Mason University)
  • Henrietta Ransdell – Paducah, Ky. (will attend University of Louisville)
  • Anna Raphael – Bloomington, Ind. (will attend St. Olaf College)
  • Demarco Saffold – Grinnell, Iowa (will attend Grinnell College)
  • Nivedhitha Selvaraj – Spring, Texas (will attend University of Texas at Austin)
  • Brandy Williams – St. Louis, Mo. (will attend the University of Missouri-Columbia)

College Winners

  • Kourtney Billups – Murfreesboro, Tenn. (attends Alcorn State University)
  • Bria Burrell – Franklin, La. (attends University of Louisiana–Lafayette)
  • William Dabney III – Oxford, Miss. (attends University of South Alabama)
  • Tiara Dean – Monroeville, Ala. (attends Tuskegee University)
  • Kordell Hightower – Jonesboro, Ark. (attends Arkansas State University)
  • Samantha Holmes – Durham, N.C. (attends Duke University)
  • Dallas, Ott – Ankeny, Iowa (attends Iowa State University)
  • Keith Searfy – Columbus, Ohio (attends Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis)
  • Kayla Sullivan – St. Louis, Mo. (attends DePauw University)
  • CoreyAn Thomas – Louisville, Ky. (attends Northern Kentucky University)
  • Michelle Thornton – Cedar Hill, Texas (attends University of North Texas)
  • Cornelius Tulloch – Miami, Fla. (attends Cornell University)
  • David Warner – Phoenix, Ariz. (attends School of the Art Institute of Chicago)
  • Megan Williamson – Johns Creek, Ga. (attends University of Georgia)
  • Lydia Zeiler – Columbia, S.C. (attends Clemson University)

“When you read the student essays, you can easily understand the pride we feel in being able to offer them support for their education,” said Michele Elrod, head of Regions Corporate Marketing. “Over the last six years, we’ve received thousands of essays about individuals ranging from household names, to more personal, unsung heroes, and we are reminded of the diversity of what inspires and motives students to bring positive change to our communities.”

“For Regions, the Riding Forward Scholarships represent an important connection between honoring Black History Month and helping students continue their education,” said Lajuana Bradford, head of Regions Corporate Social Responsibility. “It’s allowed us a meaningful way to invest in our communities and more specifically, the lives of over 180 students who’ve benefited from the scholarships since 2012.”

Since the inception of the scholarship program in 2012, more than $764,000 has already been awarded to students to further their educations. In 2017, entries were accepted between Jan. 16 and Feb. 28.

For official rules, complete entry details and eligibility requirements for the 2017 Regions Riding Forward Scholarship Essay Contest, visit the contest website at

About Regions Financial Corporation
Regions Financial Corporation (NYSE:RF), with $125 billion in assets, is a member of the S&P 500 Index and is one of the nation’s largest full-service providers of consumer and commercial banking, wealth management, mortgage, and insurance products and services. Regions serves customers across the South, Midwest and Texas, and through its subsidiary, Regions Bank, operates approximately 1,500 banking offices and 1,900 ATMs. Additional information about Regions and its full line of products and services can be found at