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Paying it Forward

Nancy Snow and Christina LaCanfora
Scholarship recipient Christina LaCanfora with her benefactor, Nancy Snow.

Christina LaCanfora was so grateful for the scholarship support she received from the Department of Communication that she’s replenished the fund twice.

“It feels fantastic to know that you are making it a little easier for a student to finish a degree by reducing the stress of money,” said LaCanfora, 25, a 2007 graduate with a double major in communication and sociology.

LaCanfora was awarded the $1,000 Nancy and Melinda Snow Scholarship during the 2006-2007 school year. For the past two years, LaCanfora has donated to the scholarship, with her employer, ExxonMobil, matching her donation three to one.

“I just felt that I was so fortunate to have gotten a good job,” said LaCanfora, an upstream communications advisor for the company in Houston, TX. “I  remember how much it meant for me to get financial support when I was in school. I want to help other people.

“Receiving a merit-based scholarship is a great feeling. It acknowledges and rewards all the effort you’ve spent studying, writing papers, and being involved with extracurricular activities. It is amazing that someone who has never met you is so impressed by your dedication to your studies and contributions to your school that they are willing to provide you with financial assistance to help achieve your goal.”

The Nancy and Melinda Snow Scholarship was a surprise to Nancy Hill Snow, a popular communication professor at NC State from 1966 – 2006. It is also named in memory of Melinda Snow — the daughter of Nancy and A.C. Snow — who died in an automobile accident in 1996.

“When I was getting ready to retire, my students had this brilliant idea that they would start a scholarship, but of course they didn’t have any money,” said Nancy Snow, whose husband, A.C. is a well-known columnist for the Raleigh News & Observer. “So they called my husband, and he worked it out that they could get a scholarship started. I did not know anything about it until the day of my retirement; that’s when it was announced.”

Snow is thrilled with LaCanfora’s donation — and ExxonMobil’s match. “I hope the fact that Christina has done this is going to make other people want to do it,” Snow said. “I’ve always thought that instead of paying someone back you should just pay it forward to benefit another person.”
by Christa Gala