The $60,000 scholarship covers the cost of the four semesters he has left to complete his degree.
Hinton, who is minoring in chemistry, is provided with full tuition, fees, books, a computer, printer and applicable software as well as periodic employment during school breaks and summers.
As a USDA/1890 National Scholar, he has agreed to provide one year of service to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for each year of financial support received.
Hinton, son of Darryl and Susan Hinton, graduated from Southwest DeKalb in 2010.
He said the science courses were the easiest for him when he attended DeKalb County schools. “It was my niche,” he said.
“Science is a multidisciplinary subject area where I had to use knowledge I’d obtained from every course I took. Food science, I think, is a field that has a critical impact on society. However, many people have never heard of it.”
Hinton, 20, said that it was not until he attended orientation and registration at Alabama A&M that he even knew that food science existed. He said he likes to think that Alabama A&M chose him.
“I was drawn to AAMU historically, academically and financially,” he said.
He was awarded the Dean’s Scholarship and a Freshman Food Science Scholarship.
“Alabama A&M is also the only historically black college and university with a food science program accredited by the Institute of Food Technologists,” he said. “The College of Agriculture is the first and oldest at the university, and [“Roots” author] Alex Haley’s father, Simon, was a professor of agriculture at AAMU.”
Hinton said that his mother, who now works for Emory Healthcare, is a former DeKalb substitute teacher who has “a deep and enduring passion for educating young children and has been a tremendous source of motivation and encouragement.”
His father works in the trucking industry. “He is the reason I was not afraid to venture away from home and pursue what it is that I want in life,” Hinton said.
He has two younger brothers – Jabari, a freshman at Arabia Mountain High School, and Malcolm, a fourth-grader at Marbut Theme School.
“I wanted to set the bar very high for them to show that if you stay focused and work hard, there is no such thing as a glass ceiling or box,” Hinton said.
“Look at the current president of the United States.”
He said that being a USDA scholar is not just a personal achievement because his DeKalb teachers and instructors, from kindergarten through high school, contributed to his success.
“To me, it all begins with the teacher.”
Hinton said he wants to excel so that he can provide life-changing opportunities for others.
“As a child, I was always taught to give back,” he said. “One of the purposes for acquiring an education is to take what you have learned, apply it and pass it on so that someone can continue wherever you stop.”