Keely Zimmer: Great Clips Scholarship Recipient

by Courtney Weikel
Empire Beauty School Standale, Great Clips Scholarship Recipient

We are thrilled to announce that Keely Zimmer from Empire Beauty School Standale is a recipient of the Great Clips $5,000 Scholarship! Zimmer’s dedication, talent, and passion for cosmetology allowed her to stand out amongst other candidates. 

Zimmer began her beauty school journey in July 2023, with an expected graduation date set for May 2024. 

Zimmer belongs to a family legacy in beauty. With her mother and three aunts already earning the title of skilled cosmetologist, she embraces her passion by creating her journey in the beauty industry.  

Mainly, my family has been a big part of why I went to cosmetology school. I have three aunts who are cosmetologists, one of them owns a salon right next to the school. My mom used to be a cosmetologist. College life was not for me, I like hands-on and interacting with people. I felt like cosmetology was the best option for that because I could experience my time with other people. There are always new trends to do, I find it exciting. 

I always ask my mom for help when I have tests coming up. Same thing with my aunts. With them being so close to the school, they let me shadow them and ask questions. I currently work at a salon as a receptionist, my boss is so sweet and allows me to watch her work. I have a lot of outside resources to help me. 

Though she is early in her student journey, Zimmer has her eyes set on furthering her salon experience and becoming a color specialist. 

With this industry, you can go so many ways. I am aiming to go into a salon. I want to specialize in color, I think it is an amazing technique. Eventually, I would want to own a salon. But to start, I would like to gain more salon experience. My favorite thing about this field is boosting the clients self -esteem and being that person makes them feel beautiful. 

Empire Beauty School Standale, Great Clips Scholarship Recipient

Amanda Semple, an Empire Standale 2008 graduate, works in Recruiting and Administration for Great Clips. Semple received the opportunity to present Zimmer with this scholarship and celebrated with a pizza party at Empire Standale. 

After passing my state boards, I began at Great Clips. I’ve been there for 13.5 years. I’ve done so much there from stylist, assistant manager, manager at different locations, assistant general manager, and general manager, and now I do recruiting and administrative tasks for the franchise. 

After 13+ years, Semple says it feels good to return to Empire Beauty School and reconnect with her previous educators. 

I love my current position, and having the ability to visit schools. Cynthia Alexander was one of my educators when I was a student there, and I was able to go back and see her. It’s so fun to come back and continue those relationships. Empire has come a long way, in a good way.

Semple appreciates that the beauty industry allows her to follow her cosmetology dream while also following her other life dreams, such as being a mom. There are a variety of career options for you to choose from. By having a cosmetology license you are in control to choose which fits you and your lifestyle best. 

The most rewarding part that I have seen is that you don’t just have to be behind the chair. There are so many avenues to take in the industry and you literally cannot get bored. There are always things to learn and things to do. I’ve always wanted to be a mom and this industry fits right with that. You can still live that dream while being in the cosmetology industry. I also love what I get to do, helping students reach their dreams and potential. 

If you are considering beauty school, Zimmer and Semple provides guidance on how to make the most of your cosmetology education that will prepare you for a successful career. 

Zimmer: Don’t miss school. If you miss time, your graduation will keep being pushed back. This field has endless opportunities for you. Regardless if you want to touch someone’s head or not. Don’t feel pressure to do one thing, there are so many things to do. Put time and effort into it. Making friendships at school has been so helpful. If you’re nervous to talk to an educator, you can talk to your friends. The educators have been amazing. Everyone has been super helpful. 

Semple: When you’re in school, treat it like a job. Those who are most successful are the ones who care about their attendance, professional appearance, and overall professionalism. That will look good to any employer and any salon that visits the school. You will have endless opportunities if you treat it like a job. It does matter, it’s not just school. It’s the start of your career. 

If you are interested in learning more about scholarship opportunities, Semple shares her advice. 

Great Clips gives away over $120,000 in scholarships every year, around 22 students are chosen for $5,000 scholarships. This occurs in the fall and spring. There are so many scholarships out there, just apply for them because you never know. Our Spring Great Clips scholarship is open now until March 1st, 2024. Visit to learn more. 

Congratulations Keely Zimmer on being awarded the Great Clips scholarship! You belong in the beauty industry, and we are thrilled to be a part of your journey. 

For more information about Empire Beauty School, or how to enroll visit

December 8, 2023

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