Lauren Adams
Picture of Office of Communications

Office of Communications

Voorhees University students learning beyond the classroom

Bernyla Sparks
Bernyla Sparks
Lauren Adams
Lauren Adams

Denmark, S.C. – Voorhees University students Lauren Adams and Bernyla Sparks, are maximizing learning opportunities beyond the classroom. Adams, a mass communications major, will participate in the Disney College Program, which gives students work experience in their discipline. Sparks, a computer science major, is participating in a Gumbo University Program, where she is enhancing her leadership skills.

Adams, who will be earning her bachelor’s degree in the spring, said she is excited to be in the Disney College Program, beginning in July.

“I have wanted to be a part of this program since I was a freshman,” she said. “Only 20 percent of people get accepted. When I was accepted, I was so proud of myself and what I had accomplished.”

Beyond the work experience, Adams will be developing connections to make her workforce ready. She said, “Not only will I be making connections, but I’ll also be working in my major at the happiest place on earth.”

Adams currently serves as Miss Senior, a student ambassador and a member of the Voorhees Media Team.

She credits Voorhees with helping her build confidence and giving her the tools she needs to reach her goals.

Sparks, who will be earning her bachelor’s degree in the spring of 2025, said participants in the Gumbo University Program have learned many leadership lessons. “One of the lessons that has stuck with me is ‘Speed is Nothing Without Direction.’ I’m so grateful to even have the opportunity to be chosen out of thousands of students who applied to participate in this program.”

Sparks is learning how to be a more transitional leader and gaining leadership lessons that will be valuable in any position.  The program is inspired by Marc Morial, who is currently president and CEO of the National Urban League, and the leadership lessons from his first book, The Gumbo Coalition. Morial is also a former mayor of New Orleans. Sparks started the program on January 13 and will complete it on March 31.

“I have met multiple college students as far away as New York and Louisiana,” Sparks said. “I even got the opportunity to meet the man himself, Mr. Marc Morial, along with other iconic people like Ralph McDaniel. It’s been an amazing experience thus far.”

Sparks said that Terrianna McCullough, an academic excellence coach at Voorhees, encouraged her to apply. “Ms. Mccullough told me that she felt like I had a chance to win the scholarship. I applied, waited to see if I was accepted, and I was. I was so happy.” she said.

Sparks is a class secretary and plans to become more involved in other organizations next semester. She said that Voorhees has prepared her for leadership by surrounding her with an encouraging support system.

A high-resolution image of Adams is available at

A high-resolution image of Adams is available at

About Voorhees University

Voorhees University, founded by Elizabeth Evelyn Wright in 1897, is a private, coeducational institution affiliated with the Episcopal Church and the United Negro College Fund. The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate and graduate degrees. Its mission is to produce highly qualified graduates who coalesce intellect and faith in pursuit of life-long learning, healthy living, the betterment of society, and an abiding faith in God. U.S. News & World Report has ranked Voorhees as a #1 best value, #3 in social mobility and #33 among regional colleges in the south in 2022-2023; and #26 among Historically Black Colleges and Universities, nationally. Additional information about Voorhees University can be found at


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