Denny’s Awards Scholarships to Nine USC Upstate Student Interns

USC Upstate student William Houston, right, shows off his Hungry for Education scholarship award from Spartanburg-based Denny's Corp. alongside his mother, Rosey Houston, left, and grandmother, Erion Roseman, center.

Spartanburg, S.C. – Students from the University of South Carolina Upstate have received some “cheddar” from one of the world’s largest restaurant chains. On Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022, Denny’s Corp. hosted a ceremony at its corporate headquarters in downtown Spartanburg where it celebrated the 10 participants in its summer internship program and announced it will award each of them a $1,500 scholarship. Nine of the recipients are USC Upstate students.

“This was a fantastic group,” said Denny’s Corporate Recruiter Katie Boling. “Denny’s is a special work environment. Everybody is very friendly. Your co-workers become extensions of your family. And I do think that each intern got to feel that and really walked away with some lasting relationships, both personal and professional. We would be happy to consider bringing them back when they’re done with school.”

Denny’s will grant the funds through its Hungry for Education program, which is a multicultural scholarship initiative designed to recognize and encourage academic achievement among high school through college students.

Since the program’s inception, Denny’s has awarded more than 500 scholarships worth almost $2 million to students across the nation, company officials said. More than $300,000 of that has been awarded this year.

“I am so excited about the Hungry for Education program and grateful for the visionary leadership of Denny’s Corp.,” said USC Upstate Chancellor Bennie L. Harris, Ph.D. “The opportunity to apply classroom learning to real-world challenges helps to better prepare our students for their careers. These scholarships will help our students achieve their higher education goals.”

“We applaud Denny’s for creating internships that not only fit perfectly with our college-to-career goals but provide the company with a pipeline of creative, talented, and skilled new employees,” Harris added.

The scholarship recipients from USC Upstate include:

William Houston (Talent Acquisition Intern)
Malashia Cain (HR Communications Intern)
Anjali Patel (HR Generalist Intern)
Nolan Plyler (Legal Intern)
Elizabeth Andrews (IT Digital Intern)
Matthew Lee (IT Digital Intern)
Malik Tate (IT Technical Services Intern)
Javier Alverson (IT Architecture Intern)
Kelly Price (Finance Intern)
During the ceremony, Kelli Valade, Denny’s president and CEO, congratulated the Hungry for Education scholars and wished them well in all of their “future endeavors.” Valaded also touted the quality of Denny’s Internship Program, which was started in 2015.

“You did an amazing job, and you left an indelible mark on this whole organization,” Valade said. “I’m so impressed with all of you. I’ve watched you in some of our support center meetings and just wish you had more time here with us… But mostly we just hope that our paths will cross again.”

Malashia Cain, a senior majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Business and Communications, said she and her fellow Spartans participated in a broad range of activities specific to their internship areas during the program, which began in May and ended in August.

The first-generation college student who is of Laurens, S.C., said she did everything from graphic design to creating messages for events. At the end of the program, Cain and her classmates were tasked with planning an event for the rest of Denny’s 250 corporate employees—an event they called “Festival Fever.”

“It was a great experience,” Cain said. “It was difficult at first because we all had to come together and plan every aspect of it. I learned a lot… Denny’s has definitely prepared me for my future. I am truly honored to receive a scholarship from them. That’s not something they had to do. It’s very generous of them. It just feels amazing.”

Erion Roseman, of Greenville, cheered for her grandson, William Houston, as he received his ceremonial check and internship completion packet.

“My heart is filled with joy,” Roseman said. “To see him work so hard and to be recognized for that work, it’s almost indescribable.”

April Kelly-Drummond, vice president for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Denny’s, said USC Upstate students share one hallmark that helps them stand out among their peers.

“They’re ready to join the workforce,” Kelly-Drummond said. “We have a great partnership with Hannah Terpack (director of career management at USC Upstate). I know that when I’m struggling to find talent, I can just call her, and she always comes through (with qualified candidates). USC Upstate students come prepared.”

The University of South Carolina Upstate is a regional comprehensive university offering more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs in the liberal arts and sciences, business administration, nursing, and education. Located along the I-85 corridor in Spartanburg between Greenville and Charlotte, USC Upstate is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the South’s best college for veterans and South Carolina’s No. 1 public regional college. It serves as a significant talent producer for the state, with more than 6,000 students, approximately 1,300 new graduates each year, and nearly 30,000 alumni, many of whom live and work in the state. The USC Upstate Spartans compete in 15 NCAA Division 1 sports as a member of the Big South Conference. For more information, visit

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