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‘Grit’ earns Allsop prestigious Monmouth College scholarship

Jeff Rankin
04/25/2018
Allsop, center, is congratulated by Mellinger Foundation president Dan Kistler, left, and Monmouth College President Clarence R. Wyatt.
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MONMOUTH, Ill—Brandon Allsop, a junior business administration and economics major from Cheyenne, Wyoming, is the 2018 recipient of the prestigious Tom Johnson Scholarship at Monmouth College.

Now in its fourth year, the highly competitive $10,000 scholarship is funded by the Edward Arthur Mellinger Educational Foundation and named in memory of Johnson, who served as foundation president. It is given annually to an outstanding student in the Department of Political Economy and Commerce.

Allsop was formally presented with the scholarship at an April 23 testimonial dinner, attended by Mellinger Foundation board members, department faculty, Monmouth College President Clarence R. Wyatt and members of the Johnson family.

Speaking on behalf of the faculty, department chair Wendi Bolon described Allsop as one of the hardest-working students she has ever taught, noting that on the second day of class he was talking to her about potential research projects—something most students don’t even think about until several weeks later.

“He’s is a joy to have in class,” Bolon said. “He’s in several honor societies—Blue Key, Alpha Lambda Delta, Sigma Beta Delta—and is helping to run the Business and Economics Club. He’s a two-sport athlete, running cross country and track, and he suffered through a severe muscle disorder and fought his way back, after it was uncertain that he could run again.”

She said Allsop’s dogged determination was also evident in seeking a summer internship. “He applied to 52 companies and got one interview,” she said. “Most students would give up long before that, but Brandon has staying power.”

Allsop, who hopes to pursue a career in business analytics, landed his upcoming internship with Ace Hardware in the Chicago area. He will be analyzing what products sell best in different stores and why those items are popular.

Bolon said that Allsop’s scholarship essay was appropriately titled “The Development of Grit” and read an excerpt from his scholarship application to illustrate how far he has come through sheer determination:

“I was never the topic of discussion. I was never looked on to carry the group and I was never seen as somebody that could achieve lofty goals. This was evident when I made my decision to come to Monmouth College. Everybody from friends to teachers to guidance counselors and even family believed that I wouldn’t last more than a year at Monmouth, explaining to me that it takes a certain type of person to be able to succeed that far away from home.”

Bolon said Allsop has proved his detractors wrong. “You’ve done more than succeed,” she told him. “You’re making your mark and you should be proud of what you’ve done.”

“As someone who is funding my way through college, getting this award was really, really helpful,” Allsop said. “It took a lot of stress off as I am entering my senior year.”

Asked how a student from Wyoming came to enroll at Monmouth, Allsop said he was looking to attend a college outside of state and had some relatives in southern Illinois. He started looking at small Illinois colleges and heard about Monmouth’s strong business program.

“One aspect that impressed me about Monmouth is the fact that a lot of the professors have outside experience,” Allsop said. “Coming here, we’ve had professors who worked on Wall Street … who worked in advertising agencies. That’s not the case with some of my friends at other colleges.”

Allsop said that Monmouth’s successful track and field program also weighed into his decision, but the clincher was visiting campus. “I knew immediately this was the place,” he said.

He is the son of Justin and Kelly Allsop of Cheyenne, Wyoming.