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WKU Owensboro Student Success Stories

Tara Jackson

Tara JacksonReturning to college at the age of 41 was not what I had planned. However, due to healthcare changes across America, I found myself without a full-time job in over 17 years as a PTA. The unemployment office discussed with me the possibility of finishing my education to better enhance my skills. I looked at two universities in my surrounding area that offered the opportunity to finish my degree. I fell in love with Western Kentucky University-Owensboro campus. Everyone I spoke to, whether in the office, financial aid office, IT department, Library, or Ashley Sorce have been extremely helpful in allowing me to succeed in returning back to college. They have also helped me overcome my biggest area of concern------"The Technology" factor. Lee is extremely helpful in answering any questions I might have and has helped me navigate this new territory. This campus has compassionate staff that is willing to help any student achieve their goals. I would highly recommend any person to come to this campus and complete their requirements for their degree. Thanks for your dedication. It shows in the student body's accomplishments!!!!


Jordan Milby

Jordan MilbyMy name is Jordan Milby. I was born in a small town of Campbellsville, Kentucky. Throughout my life I had always planned to go to college. I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do, but I wanted to go to school. I always had good grades and a seemingly normal life for the most part. By the time I reached high school I began experimenting with drugs and alcohol which quickly led to the downward spiral often attributed to substance abuse. Suddenly, my academic goals were no longer a priority anymore. I managed to pull through and graduate high school despite the issues at hand. At this time college didn't interest me anymore either. My life was consumed with the party lifestyle. After being out of school for a year I made the decision to enroll in another university. I thought that I could continue the lifestyle and still be successful. Soon enough I found myself in the mix of some legal issues as a result of my substance abuse. This left me no choice but to drop out only halfway through my first semester of college.

Shortly after this took place, I ended up at Owensboro Regional Recovery which is a long term recovery center for people struggling with substance abuse. This is the point where I turned my life around and decided to get back on track. During my stay there, I managed to do just that. Afterwards, I enrolled at Owensboro Community and Technical College in order to start up my academic career again. I managed to graduate there with a 4.0 in August of 2013. Now that I have graduated, I have moved on to WKU-O. I am in the Social Work program and also work at Owensboro Regional Recovery as well. I write this story to give others hope that they can overcome whatever issues that may be holding them back. At one point, I felt as if my life was over. Little did I know it was just beginning.


Felicia Piper

Felicia PiperSitting on my couch, I peered out the window praying the mailman would hurry up. All I could think about was whether this would be the day or not! Finally after what felt like forever he came, dropped a few envelopes, and left. I rushed out the door, not paying much attention to anything but the mailbox. Quickly I flipped through the mail... bill, bill, bill... and there it was an acceptance letter! I couldn't open it, I felt sick, and excited! A quick prayer and I decided there was no turning back, "Lord, let this be it!" Ripping it open I saw the words I wanted to see, "We are pleased to inform you..." This girl was going to be a college student! Weeks passed there were tears of joy, and much excitement. Plans were formed, letters written to potential roomies. I was ready! However, I still needed to finish my senior year; Prom, musicals, choir performances, and nationals with my speech team, portfolios and graduation! Finally it was done! I was a graduate and right on the heels of my 18th birthday! I was ready to see the world, well at least see more of Kentucky. Then it happened! Just a few weeks before move in day I took a positive pregnancy test. I thought it was over. No more collage, no more moving out... nothing! After many more tears I decided I would attend OCTC. It wasn't what I wanted but I refused to become just like every other teen mom, I would go to college! That first year I actually dropped out. It was hard! Being a mom and trying to take care of my schoolwork, I learned very quickly that things were never going to be the same. So I decided to continue attending OCTC but I was only going to go part time. The years past, I got married and actually had another baby. Still working on my degree, I never gave up! 5 yrs. later, I walked the line for my Associates Degree! It was hard; I spent many nights working late only to get up with a screaming baby a few hours later. But I didn't give up! I am now a mother to two little boys, Gabe who is 4, and Caleb who is 2. My husband and I are very thankful for the Lord's timing in our lives. I am currently working towards my Bachelor's degree in Middle School Education. This may be my 6th year of college but I wouldn't trade it for the world! One day I get to tell my boys that giving up is not an option, even if there are a few curve balls thrown.


Todd Morrison

Todd Morrison I am a lifelong resident of Owensboro, KY, and attend Western Kentucky University-Owensboro with a declared major of social work. My wife, Zada, and I have known each other since middle school. We have four beautiful children, all boys, and all from previous marriages (Josh 19, Adisson 17, Connor 11, and Conor 9). We also are the proud parents of a vivacious seven month old Labrador retriever named Molly. We attend church locally at both Christ Community Church and New Life Church.

I was born on December 9th, 1970, to Terry and Mary Susan Morrison. I was the only child until my brother, Travis, came along when I was ten. My father struggled with substance abuse for most of his life until he succumbed to his illness on February 3rd, 1981, at the ripe old age of twenty-eight. Left widowed and with two young children to raise on her own, my mother did a fantastic job of maintaining as normal of a household as possible. My mom depended a lot on her parents when it came to helping raise my brother and me. Although life was tough without having the influence of my biological father, my grandfather more than made up for dad not being around.

I graduated from Owensboro High School in May, 1989. I played on the soccer team at OHS until my junior year, and I also was a member of the orchestra where I played the violin. In fact, I met my wife in the orchestra at Owensboro Middle School in 1983. I was smitten from day one!

I briefly attended college after high school, but withdrew from both Owensboro Community College and Murray State University after one semester. I came back home to Owensboro and began working in the Daviess County Clerk's office in January, 1991. My job duties at the clerk's office included the licensing and transferring of motor vehicles, voter registration, and oversight of the election process here in Daviess County. I was terminated from employment at the clerk's office in February, 2010, due to a chemical dependency issue on my part.

I decided to return to college in the summer of 2010 at the age of 39 because I felt a college education was the only way for me to become employable again. I enrolled at Owensboro Community & Technical college with a declared major of nursing. Prior to being accepted into the nursing program at OCTC, I obtained two associate's degrees (science & arts) from the college. I decided to withdraw from the nursing program midway through the second semester because I could no longer manage full-time nursing and full-time employment at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital where I am a nurse assistant in the ICU.

I decided to enroll at WKU-O and finish my bachelor's degree here. I have changed my major to social work, and I could not be happier with the way classes are going thus far. I feel like this is my calling. I am very much looking forward to finishing my education here at WKU-O, and I look forward to the many exciting challenges that await me in the future. I am also proud to say that I have been free of the bondage of substance abuse for almost four years now.


Taylor Kemp

Taylor KempLike a lot of high school kids, I was undecided on where I'd go to college. After enrolling at KCTCS for one semester, I decided I'd like to attend WKU in Bowling Green to finish my nursing degree. When I got to Bowling Green, I had a rough time. People back home were judging me for rushing [a sorority] and my then boyfriend of 3 years began to make me rethink things, so we ended our relationship. I realized that my education was more important than the gossip. After my first semester, I became an RA [residential assistance] and was assigned to a different residence hall than I'd been living in. The stress of the job made me end the experience quite short, although that had been one of my most favorite semesters. During that semester I switched majors to Social Work, found out what campus living was really about, built friendships, and gained leadership experience. In spring 2013, I decided to end my time in Bowling Green and continue my degree at WKU-O. Though I only spent three semesters at WKU, I realized that it's not about the place you get the education, it's that you get an education. Currently, I'm an employee at Walmart and going to school full-time. I'm 4 semesters away from graduating!


Rebecca Hopkins

Rebecca Hopkins Non-traditional is the nice way to describe my college experience. I started my journey 14 years ago; fresh out of high school at 17, I lasted one semester before realizing I wasn't ready to be so far away from my parents.  After 4 years of working retail jobs and nannying, I was ready to go back; I completed one year at the University of Alaska Anchorage before a surprise pregnancy forced me to drop out of school and work full time at the age of 22.   Years passed, my boyfriend became my husband, and 2 more children were born.  Meanwhile, I was convinced that I would be stuck in the same office or retail jobs for the rest of my life.  I knew I wanted more, a career where I could contribute to the community and be proud of what I was doing; however, three small kids demanded a household with two working parents.

Finding out what Western Kentucky University – Owensboro could offer honestly changed my life.  I found I could get my core classes done at Owensboro Community and Technical College, and then continue onto a Bachelor's degree in Owensboro.  I began to take the core classes, and ended up taking a class from Amanda Blohm-Thomspon; a paper she assigned for her class unlocked for me the passion I feel for educating middle grades learners.  A class taught by Kevin Dorth allowed my interest in History to find a home, and he has been highly helpful in helping me navigate the education process at WKU-O.  Ashley Sorce, my advisor, has been absolutely outstanding in helping me find classes that not only fit my requirements, but also fit around my schedule of working 40 hours a week and parenting three kids under 8.

Without this campus here in Owensboro, I know I would not be able to finish my degree.  I would be working unsatisfying jobs, wishing there were some way to change my life.  The people I have met and the things I am able to do have made it so I wake up eager to see what happens next.  I have found that the staff unquestionably cares about their students' futures, and want to help them succeed;  they answer any question I have, and the instructors encourage me to my full potential.  Because of the support I receive, I have been able to be a Dean's Scholar while continuing to work full time, parent my kids, and even manage to do some volunteering.

I am a proud Owensboro Hilltopper!


Jacob Bryant

Jacob BryantI just recently graduated from WKU-O in the spring of 2013 with a Bachelor's of Science in Middle Grades Education. My journey with WKU-O started back in 2010 when I was a senior at Apollo High School. I began taking courses at Owensboro Community & Technical College that would transfer to WKU. I worked extremely hard my senior year and graduated in June 2011 with 47 college credit hours completed, but I knew work had only begun. I continued to work hard and finished my Associates of Arts degree online in 2012 from OCTC. All the while, I was still taking courses at WKU, knowing that I planned to graduate in the spring of 2013. In the fall of 2012, I moved back home to Owensboro and began taking classes at the WKU-Owensboro campus. During that same semester, I found employment as a substitute teacher and an IVS Facilitator. These positions, along with the skills I acquired through Dynamic Leadership Institute, prepared me for the corporate world. As the spring semester approached, I began my student teaching at College View Middle School. From the very moment I started I knew that I had picked the right career for me. I could just feel the reward of teaching, growing, mentoring, coaching, and engaging young adolescents. I knew that eventually I would graduate and have to look for a job. I was blessed to be granted a position as a 6th and 8th grade Language Arts Teacher at College View Middle School. I know that none of this would be possible without all of the help and support I received at the WKU-Owensboro campus. They truly have changed my life. They taught me valuable skills, workplace excellence, and gave me all the support I needed to get me where I am!! I only hope that I can continue to contribute and give back all they gave to me.

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 Last Modified 6/25/15