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Student Spotlight: Kylie Griffey

"As a first-generation college student and as a student with disabilities, getting this degree shows that there are no limitations to what I can do, and nothing can hold me back from what I want to do."

By Trey Crumbie | Photography by Scott Beseler| Published May 2021
Kylie Griffey
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NAME: Kylie Griffey
HOMETOWN: Sparta, Kentucky
MAJOR(S): Biology/Pre-med
MINOR(S): Chemistry and Honors
YEAR IN COLLEGE: Freshman

Tell me about life pre-NKU. Where did you grow up?
Before attending Northern, I grew up in the small town of Sparta, Kentucky where I attended Gallatin County Schools. Growing up, I played volleyball for my high school where I served as team captain for four years and played club volleyball since middle school. In high school, I began to pursue my passion for language and traveled to China for two weeks with the University of Kentucky on the Confucius Institute Scholarship. I graduated from iLEAD Academy, Jefferson Community Technical College and Gallatin County High school last spring. From there, I continued my Chinese language learning through NSLI-Y during the pandemic while attending NKU.

Why did you choose NKU? What kept you here?
For me, choosing to come to Northern was a big decision with the many unknowns of the pandemic and my program obligations with National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) and the possibility of still having in person travel. NSLI-Y is a rigorous language program funded by the government to send students to different countries to learn critical languages. I was accepted to China and was supposed to be in Chengdu, China for a year. What really brought me to NKU was meeting with students and faculty about their experience with the university. I specifically talked to professors and students in the biological sciences and Honors College. Hearing the experiences of those who were already apart of the Norse community.

Can you tell me a little about what you're studying?
I am currently studying biology. In the courses I have taken so far, I have learned a lot about bacteria, fungi, body systems, anatomy, ecology and so much more. My favorite course I have taken for my major is microbiology. The class is very challenging, but I have learned so much about topics I really enjoy.

Describe NKU in one word.
Community

Where is your favorite spot on campus? What makes that spot so special?
My favorite spot on campus is Loch Norse, especially now that it is spring. This area of campus has become very beautiful and a good place to sit outside and study or do light schoolwork. I also really enjoy seeing all the geese and their goslings.

Where’s the best place to study on campus?
The best place to study on campus is Steely Library. I go there to study before exams to help improve my studying by placing myself in a quiet academic area. Another benefit of studying at Steely is the view you can get from the personal desks when you sit by the windows.

What is your greatest passion?
My greatest passion is medicine. This past year has been extremely difficult all around the world, not only for the public but for front line workers. Working at the hospital during the pandemic has really shown me the importance of medicine during difficult times and how much of an impact you can have on a patient’s life. I hope I can continue to impact people through medicine in the same way my colleagues have. The compassion and perseverance of those I have worked with this past year was astounding. I am currently planning to pursue a career in medicine as a physician.

What’s a favorite NKU memory you’ll never forget?
My favorite memory I have made at NKU is playing games online with members I have met through the esports community. I always enjoy getting online and playing with them as they are always extremely positive and accepting.

What is your favorite way to spend your free time?
My favorite way to spend my free time is just being outside or playing with my two huskies, Akira and Lucy.

Who’s your favorite professor (or staff member)? Why?
This is a hard one since a few come to mind. A professor that I would take 100 times over would be Dick Bloss in the chemistry department. Chemistry is not my favorite subject nor am I very good at it, but he goes above and beyond with his students to help them succeed. He is also extremely kind and will always work with you if something happens. I would recommend anyone taking chemistry to take it with him. You will not regret it.

How do you stay focused?
As a student with ADHD, getting focused, especially on things I don’t want to do, can sometimes be difficult. I find that the best way for me to stay focused and succeed is to have a schedule and a to do list of everything I need and want to do. I also have found it very helpful to study at Steely Library to get myself in an academic setting.

What advice would you give to a first-year student?
Advice I would give to a first-year student would be to explore the opportunities on campus. It can sometimes be easy to stay in your comfort zone but trying new things, clubs, or activities on campus is a great way to make friends and even study groups! I would also advise them to always go to class in person if possible.

What has been your most challenging academic experience so far? Why?
My most challenging academic experience would have to be overcoming my ADHD and dyslexia. This was the most challenging because it affected my daily life as well as academics .It took me a long time to adjust and find ways that were best for my life and my academic career. By focusing on my needs as an individual and how I comprehend information best, I was able to develop study habits that have contributed to my success both in and out of the academic environment.

What are you most looking forward to after graduation?
After graduating from Northern, I look forward to continuing my education in medicine. This is my true passion and what pushes me to be a better student and member of my community.

What kind of job would you like to have after you graduate?
After I graduate, I hope to be attending medical school in the following fall.

What does getting your degree mean to you?
As a first-generation college student and as a student with disabilities, getting this degree shows that there are no limitations to what I can do, and nothing can hold me back from what I want to do.

What are a few things every NKU student should do here before he or she graduates?
I think one thing every NKU student should do before they graduate is travel! I think traveling to another country is a great way for students to learn about other cultures and see the beauty of the world. Northern has many great opportunities for students to earn credit through study abroad, I really hope students take advantage of this opportunity while attending Northern.

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