LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 29, 2022) — Eleven University of Kentucky students have been awarded the Still We Rise scholarship, recognizing undergraduate and graduate students who have persisted through obstacles and overcome adversity.
Founded in 2018 by UK student, Kennedy Guess, the Still We Rise program, whose names sake pays homage to Maya Angelou’s anthem, "And Still I Rise," provides students with a forum to share their stories and awards students with a scholarship/stipend.
“During my time in undergrad, I struggled with mental health issues, as well as being sexually assaulted,” Guess said. “Many remain silent on these struggles. I realized my story could help others suffering in silence to realize they are not alone. I wanted to help diminish the stigmas associated with mental health disorders and sexual assault. I wanted to acknowledge the strength and courage of my classmates. I wanted to spark a conversation that would make people uncomfortable because discomfort promotes change.”
“Not every student’s journey looks the same and for some the hurdles they have to leap through just to get here is beyond inspiring,” said Ashley Hinton-Moncer, student wellness director and chair of the Still We Rise event committee. “Their commitment deserves a place to be spoken about.”
Still We Rise provides just that.
This year’s recipients included:
- Peyton Varney, College of Health Sciences;
- Adrian Del Valle, J. David Rosenberg College of Law;
- Bethany Thompson, Graduate School;
- Caroline Coffey, College of Public Health;
- Karina Martinez, College of Public Health;
- Dorian Record, College of Arts and Sciences;
- Alisha Mays, Graduate School;
- Cam Asher, Graduate School;
- Sasha Owens, College of Fine Arts;
- Tyler Patrick, College of Engineering; and
- Kasey Dickerson, College of Arts and Sciences.
“The Still We Rise award to me has meant acknowledgement, healing and hope,” John Toomer, this year’s keynote speaker and former Still We Rise recipient, said. “It’s a place where those who have faced adversity are able to come together through tremendous amounts of courage and share their stories on the deepest level.”
Any full-time undergraduate or graduate student who has experienced adversity or who has overcome a significant challenge is encouraged to apply. Applicants must submit a resume and personal statement that addresses how they have overcome adversity and what resources they used to do so. To nominate a student, submit a brief personal statement from the student, student resume and a letter of support from UK faculty/staff or from a fellow student.
Event sponsors include UK Student Government Association and the Office for Student Success, as well as additional support from private sponsors.
For more information on Still We Rise, click here.
The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers." We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.