Self Financial Scholarship Award Winners 2020

By Lauren Bringle
Published on: 10/01/2020

Each year Self Financial provides a $1,000 college scholarship to aspiring entrepreneurs.


Because we want to pay it forward to the next generation of college students with big plans to change the world for the better.

After all, Self was born out of that same type of entrepreneurial spirit.

Congratulations to this year’s winners, Destney Johnson and Robert Sieger, who each received a $1,000 scholarship to further their educational and entrepreneurial dreams.

Let’s take a closer look at each of the winners…

2020 Award Winners

Destney Johnson

Destney Johnson

Destney Johnson is a student at Grambling State University in Louisiana with big dreams to help transform the rural, low-income community she grew up in through increasing technology access and education.

She’s now in school seeking a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems with a Minor in Cybersecurity to make that dream become a reality.

For her, the journey is deeply personal.

“Because some of my family were not familiar with some of the computer and IT development programs, some suffered and even lost their jobs,” Destney says. “When I decided to go to college, I knew I wanted to help people like my family, who needed help understanding and staying up-to-date on Information Systems.”

This problem isn’t just limited to Destney’s community either, but is widespread in rural areas. According to Pew Research, large parts of rural America still lack the infrastructure needed to gain access to high-speed internet.

In a world where workplaces, education, training, social interactions and more have shifted largely online, access to high-speed Internet, technology and tools, as well as knowing how to use them, has become more critical than ever.

And if you don’t have these critical tools and skills?

You may find yourself even further behind, or out of a job, as happened with some of Destney’s family members.

Trailblazers like Destney, however, are breaking this status quo. And scholarships from companies like Self empower her to do just that.

“As a company founded on the principle that you can use technology to solve meaningful problems in underserved communities, we’re proud to recognize Destney as one of this year’s scholarship winners,” Self Financial CEO James Garvey says. “We look forward to seeing how she will continue to change the world through technology.”

Read about Destney’s journey building her credit from scratch.

Robert Sieger

Robert Sieger

Robert Sieger is a student at Hofstra University in New York who is passionate about improving his – and others’ – financial literacy.

“Financial literacy and credit history are extremely important and over the years I hope to help as many people as possible become more financially literate and understand how their credit works,” Robert says.

Just like not being able to read, not understanding basic financial concepts can also hold people back and potentially cost them money over their lives.

Thankfully, Robert’s family was able to help him out by providing him with financial awareness early in life.

“My parents have always instilled in both my sister and me the importance of money and to treat it with respect, to use it correctly, to never abuse it, and to always live within your financial means,” he says.

The three most important lessons he learned about financial health?

  1. Start contributing at least the minimum to get a company match with your employer’s retirement plan the first day you become eligible.
  2. Understand both the power of compound interest for retirement and the cost of excessive interest on credit products.
  3. Always be aware of your credit and understand how credit works.

Another motto Robert likes to live by can be summed up into a simple quote by Warren Buffet:

“If you buy things you do not need, soon you will have to sell things you need.”

Robert plans to use the Self scholarship to continue his education in Hofstra’s five year BBA and MBA International Business Program, as well as in pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Finance and Economics from Dongbei University in China.

“Lack of a solid financial education negatively impacts thousands of Americans on a daily basis,” Self Financial CEO James Garvey says. “We’re honored to support Robert’s dreams to put his skills and knowledge to work addressing this problem.”

About the author

Lauren Bringle is an Accredited Financial Counselor® and Content Marketing Manager with Self Financial – a financial technology company with a mission to help people build credit and savings.

self logo
Written on October 1, 2020
Self is a venture-backed startup that helps people build credit and savings.

Self does not provide financial advice. The content on this page provides general consumer information and is not intended for legal, financial, or regulatory guidance. The content presented does not reflect the view of the Issuing Banks. Although this information may include references to third-party resources or content, Self does not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of this third-party information. Any Self product links are advertisements for Self products. Please consider the date of publishing for Self’s original content and any affiliated content to best understand their contexts.

Take control of your credit today.