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Destiny Weese, an 1890 Scholar at West Virginia State University (WVSU).  Image courtesy of WVSU

1890 Scholarship Rekindles Mother of Four’s Dream of Finishing College

The 1890 Scholarships Program, which is funded through USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, provides scholarships to support recruiting, engaging, retaining, mentoring and training of undergraduate students at the 1890 Land-grant Institutions. The scholarships are intended to encourage outstanding students at 1890 Institutions to pursue and complete baccalaureate degrees in the food and agricultural sciences and related fields. 

This article first appeared at West Virginia State University - 1890 Scholarship Rekindles Mother of Four’s Dream of Finishing College ( 

Due to financial challenges, Destiny Weese was ready to give up on her college dreams. However, her circumstances changed when she was awarded the 1890 Scholarship, which assists eligible students majoring in food, agriculture and natural resource-related degree programs. 

Weese, a 31-year-old West Virginia State University (WVSU) agribusiness major, is a nontraditional student who raises her four children while also working full-time as a business development manager for Moses Auto Group and running her 400-acre farm. The Elkview native initially studied pre-med at WVSU in 2014 but dropped out in 2015 due to family concerns. 

“I had to work and provide for my two babies. I couldn’t do it all,” Weese said. 

She returned to WVSU in 2021, and after deciding that she was no longer interested in becoming a doctor, she changed her major to agribusiness.  

Weese almost discontinued her education for the second time because she did not have the means to pay for tuition and was unwilling to go into more debt, but she could stay enrolled when she was awarded the 1890 Scholarship. 

Weese credited her mentors, Debbie Williams, dean of the College of Business and Social Sciences, and Dr. Barbara Liedl, associate professor of plant breeding and genetics, with helping her discover her true passion.  

“Debbie initially introduced me to the 1890 Scholarship opportunity,” Weese explained. “I wanted to focus on agricultural studies, so when Debbie suggested that I change my major and apply for the 1890 Scholarship, it all worked out perfectly.” 

Dr. Liedl had also positively influenced and encouraged her to continue her college career, she said. 

“I felt like she cared about me, and that was something I needed at that point in my education,” said Weese. “It’s important to have support to help you carry on when things seem hopeless. She made me feel like I could keep going.” 

“I took it as a sign that I’m in the right place, going the right way and doing the right thing,” she said with a smile. “I feel that I’m on the right track.” 

Weese is set to graduate in May 2023 and has big plans for the future. 

“My goal is to have a career with the farming bureau or the USDA,” she said. “I would love to help others in the same field as me.” 

The 1890 Scholarship Program is funded by Congress and administered by the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). It is open to students pursuing a bachelor of science in biology with an option in plant and soil science, bachelor of science in chemistry with an option in applied sciences, bachelor of science in business administration with a concentration in agribusiness, or bachelor of arts in economics with a concentration in agricultural economics. 

Top image: Destiny Weese, an 1890 Scholar at West Virginia State University (WVSU).  Image courtesy of WVSU 

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