As someone who grew up on a tobacco farm in Nelson County, Kentucky, Krista understands the value of hard work. “My parents worked for everything they’ve got,” says Krista. “Nothing comes for free—I learned that from them.”
Krista, a senior mechanical engineering student, was in high school and looking into colleges, UK was at the top of her list.
“I’m very home-centered,” says Krista. “UK was close to home and had a great engineering program.”
Krista’s interest in engineering began when she was young. She learned to fix things by helping her parents on their farm.
“I was always wanting to know, ‘Why is it like that?’ and ‘How does this work?’”
The first thing she ever fixed on her own was the front tire of her new bicycle. It sparked a passion for putting things back together and eventually, creating from scratch.
Because of the scholarship support she has received from UK, Krista has been able to focus on school and secure an internship at a machine shop in Coxs Creek, Kentucky, where her position has evolved from performing quality checks to being involved in design and engineering projects. Last summer, she went to San Antonio, Texas, to work on steel dyes used in the automotive industry.
“There are so many different paths you can take in engineering,” Krista says.
Rather than finding a part-time job to help pay for school, Krista has gained valuable experience at the machine shop that benefits her studies and prepares her for her future career.
“You don’t always get to pursue different paths before you graduate college,” says Krista. “It has meant a lot to have that opportunity.”
Krista remembers the day she learned that she would be receiving the scholarship letter. It was the summer after her freshman year. She was home, loading hay into the barn loft with her dad. She rode her dirt bike down the long drive to get the mail.
“There was a letter from UK with my name on it,” Krista says. “I opened it. I read it. I couldn’t believe it.”
She raced back to tell her dad.
“I was kicking all the way to fifth gear back up the drive.”
When she returned to UK in the fall, a weight had been lifted.
“I could breathe a little easier without having the financial stress of paying for school,” says Krista.
As she prepares to graduate next year and begin her career, Krista is excited about the contributions she can make to the automotive industry.
“I want to achieve something big,” she says. “I want to be that person people look at and say, ‘She worked hard and did something great.’”
You can help students like Krista achieve something big by making a gift to the Fund for UK. Make your year-end gift here.