Midway through her senior year of high school, Ally Huizer had toured many colleges and universities, and she had her mind set on attending the University of Georgia. But she was anxious, knowing it would create a financial hardship for her family. Then, in the spring of 2019, Ally was chosen as one of six first-year Cousins Scholars.

“I am so blessed and extremely grateful that I was chosen to be a part of the Cousins Program,” said the sophomore from Suwanee.

Ally thought it was almost too good to be true: she would receive scholarship funding, experiential learning grants, and a variety of programs and resources available through the Division of Academic Enhancement to support student success.

But the opportunities the Cousins Scholarship presented were very real, and Ally has made the most of them.

During spring break of her freshman year, Ally took advantage of the scholarship’s experiential learning grant when she participated in UGA’s Discover Abroad Hawaii, a program for all majors focused on sustainability, biology and anthropology. The week was packed with adventure, including climbing to the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii’s largest volcano.

Ally (center), with fellow UGA students atop Mauna Kea

“Hawaii was amazing, but the best part of the trip was meeting twenty students from different backgrounds and various majors,” said Ally. “It was truly a life changing experience that I would have never been able to experience without the Cousins Scholarship.”

Established by The Cousins Foundation, the Cousins Scholars Program is a robust collegiate experience for service-minded UGA students who demonstrate financial need. The Cousins Foundation is known for its strong commitment to community service, and service is integrated throughout the scholarship program.

Ally’s passion for service began long before she stepped on campus. In high school, she was involved in Beta Club and French National Honor Society, and she was an officer in her school’s National Honor Society chapter, with which she organized a food drive that assembled lunch bags for homeless communities in Atlanta.

That commitment to service has remained a part of her life. She is actively involved in Gamma Sigma Sigma, a UGA service sorority, which has provided her with opportunities to volunteer at both the Athens Food Bank and the Athens Humane Society. She finds fulfillment in her volunteer work and looks forward to continuing to find opportunities to serve on campus and in the community.

While Ally began her tenure at UGA as an undeclared major, she quickly decided that public relations was the path she wanted to pursue and was accepted to the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication this fall. Along with a public relations degree, she is working towards a New Media Certificate, which will enable her to learn new media and technologies and their application to her chosen field. And to ensure that her degree is as well rounded as possible, she is minoring in business.

“I would say my favorite part about being a Bulldog is constantly being surrounded by amazing people who are always willing to help me become the best version of myself—whether that is students, UGA faculty, or local leaders,” said Ally. “I have enjoyed getting opportunities to meet people unlike myself. I love being able to get to know people from different backgrounds with unique stories.”