UK honors 11 students with Still We Rise scholarship

LEXINGTON, Kentucky (April 29, 2022) — Eleven University of Kentucky students received the Still We Rise Scholarship, recognizing undergraduate and graduate students who persevered through obstacles and overcame adversity.

Founded in 2018 by British student Kennedy Guess, the Still We Rise program, named after Maya Angelou’s anthem, “And Still I Rise”, provides students with a forum to share their stories and rewards students with a scholarship/stipend.

“During my undergrad, I had mental health issues and was sexually assaulted,” Guess said. “Many remain silent about these struggles. I realized that my story could help others who suffer in silence to realize that they are not alone. I wanted to help reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues and sexual assault. I wanted to recognize the strength and courage of my classmates. I wanted to spark a conversation that would make people feel uncomfortable because discomfort drives change.

“Not all students’ journeys are the same and for some the hurdles they have to overcome just to get here are beyond inspiring,” said Ashley Hinton-Moncer, Director of Student Welfare and President of the Still We Rise event committee. “Their commitment is worth talking about.”

Still We Rise provides just that.

This year’s recipients included:

  • Peyton Varney, College of Health Sciences;
  • Adrian Del Valle, J. David Rosenberg School 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.

“For me, the Still We Rise Award has been synonymous with recognition, healing and hope,” said John Toomer, this year’s keynote speaker and former Still We Rise recipient. “It’s a place where those who have faced adversity can come together in tremendous courage and share their stories at the deepest level.”

Any full-time undergraduate or graduate student who has experienced adversity or overcome a significant challenge is encouraged to apply. Applicants must submit a resume and personal statement that outline how they overcame adversity and what resources they used to do so. To nominate a student, submit a brief personal statement from the student, curriculum vitae and a letter of support from UK faculty/staff or another student.

Sponsors of the event include the UK Student Government Association and the Office for Student Success, with additional support from private sponsors.

For more information on Still We Rise, click here.

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