Growing up in southeastern Kentucky, college was always on the radar, but there was always a something that worried me: how to pay for it. As a first generation college student, there was no way my parents and I could pay thousands of dollars to send me to a University. In my high school, it’s a sad reality that most people don’t go to college, and even fewer leave the Appalachian region to pursue a degree. I knew I wanted to get away from the region for a bit to see more of the world, so I tried looking beyond Appalachia for school. But the cost of tuition and the lack of opportunities for students makes paying for and achieving scholarships incredibly difficulty for students. Thankfully my high school, Clay County High School, had a number of teachers that pushed me to succeed academically, and I opted to get involved in a variety of clubs, sports, and service opportunities. I never had a “dream” college growing up, but opted to just see where I could go and afford. When I was lucky enough to be accepted into the Governor’s Scholar Program, my RA told me about the McConnell Scholars Program. I hadn’t heard anything about it, but it put UofL on my radar. Fast forward to the fall semester of my senior year, and I knew scholarships were my key if I was to go to college. With low expectations but high hopes I applied for the McConnell Scholarship at UofL. I had visited the school once for Accolade Day, but had little to no contact with the McConnell Center prior. After a rigorous interview process, I got a call from my mom while at a conference telling me I had received my letter from the program regarding decisions. She opened up the letter and read to me the results; from that moment on I knew I was a Louisville Cardinal.
I grew up in Clay County, Kentucky, a small place in southeast Kentucky. It’s a very rural area in the Appalachia region, with a very “small town” atmosphere. Growing up, I lived outside the main “town” in the northern part of the county. We only recently got high speed internet there and there still isn’t cell-phone coverage at my house. As for what I learned, I’d say the biggest thing is to have a sense of adventure. Growing up on a farm and with a lot of land to roam, your imagination kind of runs wild. You see the world more as a place to explore, and that is something that has really stayed with me since I moved to Louisville.