Cierra Roberts is in a race for a better life on and off the track. A top-rated Firebird cross country, and indoor and outdoor track star, Roberts is an athlete and a scholar with a 3.86 grade point average.
She placed first in the long jump and was a key part of the first place 4×400 meter relay at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore Invitational. UDC’s Women’s Indoor Track & Field has dominated the 4x400m Relay Event for six straight years.
Roberts credits UDC for a fresh financial start after exhausting her scholarships at Stevenson University, a Division III University which doesn’t offer athletic scholarships. Not wanting to burden her mother who was carrying the weight of a family of four daughters and a niece, she sought out help. Roberts earned a track scholarship at UDC, which allows her to live on campus, covers books and part of her academic fees.
“The scholarship means the world to me,” said Roberts through her tears. “If I didn’t have financial support from people who donate who don’t even know me, the mental support from people at the university, I don’t know what I would do.
In addition to track, the junior Business Management major is also an entrepreneur. When she was 17 years old, she created her business Retro Rumorz, which offers unique jewelry made from recyclable materials including customized bottle top bracelets and earrings with portraits.
“The scholarship allows me to excel academically, perform well on the track and generate money from my own business,” Roberts said. “I thank them wholeheartedly for investing in my future and making it possible for me not to have to struggle while figuring out how to make it for four years through the university financially.”
She still gets choked up as she talks about the sacrifices her mother has made.
“I had to make big decisions to return home to help my mom out,” she said. “Coming to UDC was the best decision I’ve made so far.
“UDC is diverse and I’ve received an abundance of support from my professors. I’ve learned time management because of the discipline that has been instilled in me. My relationships have improved since I interact with more people when we travel to track meets. Being here has improved a lot of aspects of my life, which I am really grateful.”