Graduation 2019

Bevill State student earns presidential scholarship

By NICOLE SMITH
Posted 5/5/19

Levi Sanford describes himself as an old soul, but he's creating new life through imagery. The Bevill State Community College student and photographer will walk across the graduation stage later …

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Graduation 2019

Bevill State student earns presidential scholarship

Posted

Levi Sanford describes himself as an old soul, but he's creating new life through imagery. 

The Bevill State Community College student and photographer will walk across the graduation stage later this week and continue his journey at the University of Alabama at Birmingham on a full ride scholarship.

Sanford received a letter from the university's president, Ray L. Watts, on April 1, to inform him that he is the recipient of the UAB Transfer Presidential Scholarship valued at just over $22,000. Sanford had already earned a scholarship offer from UAB but received the updated offer based on his academic accomplishments and overall achievements.

He said he is the only Bevill State student this year to receive the UAB Transfer Presidential Scholarship. 

His last two years at Bevill State were also fully funded through a scholarship offer.  

"I managed somehow to not have to pay for school. I'm very lucky, thankful and blessed for it," Sanford said in Bevill State's cafeteria in Jasper last week.

When he graduated from Carbon Hill High School in 2017, Sanford went to Bevill State with intent to become a registered nurse, but it simply wasn't the right path.

"I always planned to go into nursing school. It was just not the major for me. You have to really love it to want to do it," he said, praising those who choose the profession. "It was really stressful and definitely a difficult major."

Sanford said he had been experimenting with his mother's camera for a few months and quickly found a love for photography. He saved up to purchase his own camera, and many of his friends volunteered to be photographed as he developed his own image style.

Now Sanford does senior portraits, engagement photographs and more.

Many of his photographs highlight shades of blue and orange, which he describes as a moody undertone.  

"I like more vintage style, retro. I'm kind of an old soul when it comes to some things," he said. "I love old styles and odd posings. I just really like taking photos. I like to see the possibility in a lot of things."

At UAB, Sanford will major in art studio with a concentration in graphic design. He also plans to minor in mass communication at UAB. 

Sanford believes he will be able to advance his photography skills at UAB and incorporate his knowledge into graphic design work.

Going from a community college to the large campus of UAB will be an adjustment for Sanford, but he has a newfound confidence, thanks to his time as a Bevill State ambassador. As an ambassador, he worked events for the college and completed volunteer activities. 

"Being an ambassador helped me a lot. I was more of an introverted person," he said. "It has really helped me come out of my shell more and be a leader."

Sanford spoke at length about his love for Bevill State and said he would definitely recommend a community college — not only cash savings but for smaller class sizes and the ability to develop quality mentor relationships with professors.  

"This school has been very helpful for me," Sanford said. "I remember when I changed my major, they supported me through everything, along with my family and friends."  

Sanford has secured a summer job and will start his new journey at UAB this fall. He also hopes to do photography full-time.

His portfolio can be found on Facebook at Life Through Levi Photography, and he does accept requests to photograph various life events. 

Sanford said he wants to thank everyone who has supported him along the way for being his driving force and inspiration.

"My family inspires my every day. I think everyday life activities inspire me," he said.