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One Community: Road Scholars, Dual Credit, and a Family of Bengals

October 13, 2022

Harris Family portrait

Just six years from its inception, Idaho State University’s Road Scholarship program is already making a difference in the lives of local families. 

The Road Scholars program, which offers scholarships to students throughout Southeast Idaho, began in 2017, with one student, Jacob Harris. This fall, 90 students received Road Scholarships, including Jacob’s brother Jaden, who began his studies at Idaho State this semester. 

“We are giving a lot of Road Scholarships and it’s having a generational effect,” said Kandi Turley Ames, Dean of the College of Arts and Letters. 

For the Harris brothers, the scholarship was life-changing. 

“The Road Scholarship and the financial aid I received were the only way for me to get a higher education,” he said. “I come from a lower-income ranching family in McCammon, Idaho, so this scholarship completely changed my life trajectory, and I am forever grateful for receiving it.”

Jaden is the first recipient of the Steven G. Lee Road Scholarship. Lee graduated from ISU in 1974, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and currently serves on the Dean’s College of Arts and Letters Advisory Board. He says that his college education and experience at ISU provided a solid foundation for launching his career in government.

“I am pleased that I am now able to give back to ISU with this scholarship,” Lee said, “and hope that other students can also launch their careers and life experiences like I did with a degree from ISU.”

For the Harris family, the Road Scholarships have allowed them to carry on the family tradition of being a Bengal. 

Taking dual credit college courses in high school was another opportunity the Harris’s took advantage of. 

 Tayla Harris, Jacob and Jaden’s sister, studied and graduated from the medical assisting program at the College of Technology at ISU in 2021. She received an Associate of Applied Science degree through that program and currently works at a clinic as a certified medical assistant in Logan, Utah.

“Taking dual enrollment college credit classes in high school benefited my life by preparing me for college,” Tayla says. “It allowed me to get through college faster.”

Jaden also took dual enrollment college courses in high school, which he says gave him a head start for college and saved him significant money. He is focusing on finishing his general education requirements while he decides what to narrow his studies in. His current interests include psychology, philosophy, and sociology.

“My family has been an amazing influence on me and my decision to continue with higher education,” he said. “I hope to be the same type of influence on my younger brother, Jaxon, who is a sophomore in high school.”

Jacob is currently a second-year Graduate Assistant/student working on his master's degree in sociology with a concentration in criminology. He graduated with an associate's degree in criminology and a bachelor's degree in sociology with a minor in gender and sexuality studies in the Spring of 2021. 

Department Chair Jeremy Thomas said Jacob is an asset to the department. 

“Jacob is one of the  most amazing students we’ve ever had. His connections to the local area in combination with his insights, hard work, and friendly outlook on life have made him an inspiration to all,” he said. “No matter what he ends up doing, he is going to give back in tremendous ways to his family, community, and all those around him.”

Where did the Bengal tradition start? Jared Harris, who comes from generations of farmers and construction workers, is the proud father of Jacob, Tayla, Jaden, and Jaxon.

Jared attended Idaho State University from 1988 to 1993 and received a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education. His student teaching was done at Mountain View Elementary School in McCammon, Idaho where he attended school from kindergarten through sixth grade. He and his wife Tiffany have since encouraged their children to continue their education.

“I think that, too often, rural kids like myself believe it is too daunting or unrealistic to go to college,” Jacob said. “Some may think they must travel across the country or be indebted for life if they want to go to college, but that is not the case here at ISU. There are so many outstanding scholarship and funding opportunities right here next to our hometowns that come with a quality level of education with incredible faculty and staff who are more than happy to assist you to succeed on your academic journey. I feel more people on the rural outskirts of Pocatello should know about that and the incredible opportunities here at ISU.”


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