SAGE Fellows is a scholarship program that provides students with academic and financial support. It was established to remove barriers and guide students on a successful path toward graduation and career opportunities. Students in the program receive a $4,000 scholarship over two years, a laptop, a dedicated advisor and peer mentor, success and study skills, class with other SAGE Fellows students, access to all SAGE services, and leadership development activities and opportunities.

This scholarship was created in support of the college-wide strategic plan which includes scholarships, completion, and equity. Funding for the scholarship is raised by the Wilkes Community College Foundation annually through the MerleFest Mega Raffle.

Makenzie Shumate

WCC student, Makenzie Shumate, credits her success in college to the WCC SAGE Fellows program.  Shumate, a single mom, remembers learning that she was pregnant and wondering how she would be able to go to work, raise a child, and go to school.  Shumate stated, “Jon Hutchins, Director of SAGE, was one of the first people I told of my pregnancy. He encouraged me from the very beginning that I could do it. Without the SAGE Fellows program, I would have dropped out of school long ago.”

Shumate added, “The emotional support, encouragement, tutoring, as well as the financial assistance I received throughout the program are the reasons I will graduate with my associate degree in Business in May 2022. My plans are to transfer to East Carolina University in the fall and pursue my bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management through their online program.”

If you are interested in more information about the WCC SAGE Fellows program or how you can help other students through the MerleFest Mega Raffle visit or