Foundation For The Carolinas

How a private scholarship fund launched a career in law enforcement

Bryon Lindsay

Where Are They Now? Second in a series of articles catching up with former students who received scholarships though Foundation For The Carolinas.

Some struggle for years to find the right career. Not so for Bryon Lindsay, a North Carolina state police officer.

Lindsay got hooked on law enforcement after taking his first criminal justice class at UNC Charlotte, back in 2005.

“I absolutely loved it,” the Charlotte native recalled. “This definitely seems like a good fit for me, so I stuck with it from my freshman year on.”

Lindsay’s career may have taken a different turn, he says, had he not been awarded a private scholarship for high school students whose families live in subsidized housing.

Founded in 1983, the Charlotte Housing Authority Scholarship Fund is not affiliated with the Charlotte Housing Authority. It raises money through private donations and is one of 150 scholarship programs managed by Foundation For The Carolinas.

Since its inception, the fund has awarded more than $3.3 million in educational assistance to some 880 students. To qualify, a student must live in housing subsidized by the Charlotte Housing Authority.

A need for scholarship dollars

Like many high school students, Lindsay says he knew he wanted to attend college but wasn’t set on a career. And then there was the problem of money.

“I know my parents didn’t have the funds…,” he said, “so I knew I needed to definitely locate some scholarships…or go into the military.”

At Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology, Lindsay had taken part in a program that allowed students to get an up-close look at various careers. He chose to examine the medial professions.

“We would go out to the hospitals and do what we called rotations — follow the nurses and doctors around and just shadow them,” he said.

Lindsay said he learned of the scholarship through his mother, who had stumbled across a promotional flyer. He applied and was “overwhelmed with joy” when word came back that he had been chosen.

Even more, Lindsay says the scholarship opened doors to other funding opportunities, including scholarship dollars from the former Charlotte Bobcats basketball franchise.

A new focus

Once in college, Lindsay says his career interests “completely switched.” What attracted him to law enforcement, he said, was the opportunity to help others.

After graduation, Lindsay launched his career as a patrol officer with the Huntersville Police Department, where he stayed for two years. From there he joined the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles — License and Theft Bureau, his current employer for nearly eight years.

Lindsay said much of his work involves investigating title fraud, stolen vehicles, identity theft and other white-collar crimes relating to motor vehicles.

Working from an office in Huntersville, his territory covers all of Mecklenburg County.

Lindsay says he’s now starting to think about what comes next – maybe a stint with federal law enforcement or maybe something in the private sector, perhaps at a bank working to prevent and detect fraud and money laundering.

“I’m just waiting for the door to open,” he said, “and during the same time, I’m continuing to up my training and build my resume.”

Lindsay says he’s still driven by the desire to help others. For the past three years, he has volunteered as a mentor to other Charlotte students who have won the scholarship.

“I saw how the (scholarship program) was such a blessing to my life,” he said. “I thought about how I didn’t have a mentor going through the program and how much it probably would help me out even more, so just thinking about that I wanted to give back and be a help to somebody else.”

Apply For a FFTC Scholarship: The housing authority scholarship fund is accepting applications for the current cycle through March 6, 2020. Get more information at www.fftc.org/scholarships

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