Last Year's Winner

McQuilkin Scholarship Winner: Esther Mallard

Esther Mallard was in the local Barnes & Noble in her town of Greensboro, North Carolina doing homework when her cell phone showed an incoming call from the 803 area code that includes Columbia, South Carolina. She figured she better take the call.

“Are you serious?” she shouted to the caller.

Columbia International University President Dr. Bill Jones was on the phone to let Esther know she was the winner of the annual R.C. McQuilkin full-tuition scholarship.

“I said it relatively loud, especially for Barnes & Noble,” Esther recounted. “I had some people turning around and laughing because I was real loud.”

Esther was one of 65 high school seniors who competed in the McQuilkin Event Nov. 12-14. They were judged as they took part in intense interview sessions, fun group activities and social scenarios with the full-tuition scholarship and two $2,500 scholarships on the line.   

“I wasn’t necessarily nervous,” Esther said of the interviews. “I knew I just had to be me and answer the questions. I thought it was fun.”

Esther first learned of CIU through her youth pastor, John Freeman, a 2001 graduate of CIU. But she has gotten even more familiar with the school through her brother, Daniel, a CIU senior and soccer player who, in 2012, was the first athlete to sign a letter of intent to play in CIU’s new intercollegiate athletics program.

“Daniel and I have done sports ministry together in Brazil,” Esther noted.

Esther played club soccer during her high school days, but injuries have made it necessary for her to now avoid contact sports. Still, she says a sports ministry after college is a possibility, but she mostly just desires to be around people.   

“I just love people,” Esther said. “So honestly, if I’m just helping out people and serving people, that’s exactly where I’m supposed to be. I’m really just waiting on God to see what he has (for me).”

Esther has not decided on what her major will be at CIU, but says she is “just really looking forward to being taught, especially about the Bible.”    

“The theology is so solid at CIU,” Esther said. “I want to be involved in ministry. CIU would give me some amazing tools to have in my toolbox for ministry both now and after college. I just can’t wait. I think it is going to be so awesome.”