Local scholarship supports BYU cheerleader so she can keep cheering
SALT LAKE CITY — Thanks to the right timing and a generous donor, a female Brigham Young University student-athlete says she’s still got her pom poms out going strong.
Makenzie Roberts has been cheering for years.
“I’ve been four years in college and four years in high school, and then I did competitive cheer for one year, so about nine years,” Roberts said.
This year, Roberts is a senior. Adding up the countless hours of preparation and dedication is how Makenzie Roberts describes the sport she loves.
It’s no surprise higher education can be expensive.
That’s why after her first year of paying for her schooling, working a side job, and adapting to a rigorous student-athlete schedule, she said it was stressful being in such a financially strapped situation where giving up cheer became an option on the table.
“I’m super grateful because I definitely don’t think I would have made by or made due with my schooling and stuff. Obviously, that was the last thing I wanted to choose,” Roberts said.
Thanks to Smarty, a location data intelligence company headquartered in Provo, it didn’t come down to having to choose.
With more than 300 female student-athletes, somewhere up to two-million dollars made its way to BYU female student-athletes in September by the founder and CEO of Smarty. They sponsored $6,000 in scholarships for every BYU female student-athlete.
While the Smarty CEO said he has always supported BYU female student-athletes, it was not until NCAA rules changed to allow college athletes to receive compensation for endorsements. He said this money could support female student-athletes like Roberts’ college experience.
“Like God answers prayers, you know? Cheer brought me to BYU. That’s why I’m here, so it was so stressful having to think through a process like that, to be able to find a job I could fully commit to that’s 20 hours and giving up something that’s kind of been my whole life,” Roberts said.
Thanks to that scholarship, she said she has been able to knock down some of her work hours and make the most of this cheer season.
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