Less than two weeks ago, 10-year-old Amariyanna "Mari" Copeny,
known around the world as "Little Miss Flint," joined other female leaders as she represented her city at the Women's Convention in Detroit.
Today, the dynamic young woman played the role of aspiring college student during a visit to Central Michigan University's campus in Mount Pleasant.
And after today, Copeny will think harder than ever about someday becoming a CMU Chippewa. That's because CMU President George E. Ross had a very special surprise for her: a four-year, $25,000 scholarship.
"What? No way!" Copeny exclaimed when she was presented with the scholarship.
In a letter to Copeny, Ross noted the impact she has made, and continues to make, in the city of Flint.
"I am proud that you are a member of our CMU family and represent us in such an impressive manner," he said. "Mari, your achievements serve as a leadership example to our entire university, this state, the nation and beyond. Thank you for putting your stamp on the world."
Copeny is known for writing to President Barack Obama in early 2016 about how she's working to bring attention to the public health crisis in her community and inviting him to Flint. Her dream came true when he accepted her invitation, and she had the chance to meet him in May 2016.
Maroon and gold connections
Ross presented the invitation for Copeny to visit campus. They do, after all, share something special — they are both from Flint.
Also, Copeny partnered this fall for the second year in a row with
Pack Your Back, a nonprofit organization founded by CMU junior
Galen Miller. Together, they raised enough funds to help supply more than 1,000 children of Flint who were affected by the water crisis with backpacks and school supplies.
Miller also joined Copeny and her mother, Loui Brezell, during their visit to CMU.
"This partnership has been extremely beneficial, and Pack Your Back is fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Mari in helping the younger generation succeed," said Miller, a recreation and event management major from Bad Axe, Michigan.
"We hope to continue working with Mari to help not only Flint students, but students all over the state. Seeing a 10-year-old commit her life to helping others gives us the motivation to reach as many students as possible."
To receive the conditional award, Copeny must enroll as a degree-seeking student in an eligible program, continuously enroll full time and achieve a minimum grade point average of 3.0 during the life of the scholarship.