First Nancy Brown Memorial Scholarship Winner Announced

November 17, 2022 sdawkins Blog
Courtney Lester

Courtney Lester with her children Terence, Ezrah, Kevin and Mason.

Courtney Lester of Jasper has been named the first recipient of the Nancy Brown Memorial Scholarship at Jefferson State.

Lester is enrolled in the Medical Billing and Coding program at the college.

The Nancy Brown Memorial Scholarship is awarded to single parents pursuing one of the college’s short-term, workforce programs. This competitive scholarship provides financial resources to deserving students facing economic hardship and immediate monetary needs that, if not met, could result in an inability to complete classes or a program.

JSCC President Keith A. Brown established this scholarship in memory of his late mother.

“My mother had to drop out of high school in the 10th grade,” Brown said. “While she eventually received her GED, she did not have the opportunity to further her education. She spent most of my childhood working in entry-level, minimum wage jobs to support three children as a single parent.”

Courtney Lester, 42, was forced to pursue a new career when her partner, Jonathan, died in October 2021 of cancer. Jonathan owned the swimming pool sales business that Lester managed, so the family that included four children found itself without both its sources of income.

“When he got sick, he knew I wanted to do medical coding,” Lester said. “He was pushing me pretty hard to do that. I’ve always had an interest in medical stuff…I’ve wanted to do it for a long time.”

In Jefferson State, Lester found an institution that was responsive and supportive, and online classes allowed her to study while still caring for her 22-month-old daughter.

“It’s been a great experience,” she said.

Applications for future scholarship awards can be submitted here. The scholarship will be awarded annually.

For more information or questions, contact Jefferson State’s Center for Workforce Education at [email protected] or (205) 856-7710.

Learn more about short-term workforce programs at

“We have so many students who are single parents and just need some extra help to acquire new skills and provide the opportunity for better paying jobs or launch a new career,” said Leah Bigbee, the college’s Director of Workforce Education. “This scholarship will provide financial assistance to help them achieve their goals.”

To support students like Courtney, visit