MERIDIAN, Miss.—Growing up as the youngest of three girls in DeKalb, Mississippi, Kasi McIntosh never doubted she would go to college.
Education was stressed in her family and she and her siblings took the advice to heart. After high school, she moved to Meridian and, like her sisters, enrolled at Meridian Community College.
McIntosh initially enrolled in the physical therapy program, but decided to make a change after realizing it wasn’t what she wanted for a career. Following a conversation with a classmate and some online research, she eventually decided to pursue a psychology degree at Mississippi State University-Meridian after completing her associate’s degree.
“Growing up, I never did hear of any psychologists in Kemper County,” McIntosh said. “Aside from the school counselor, kids really didn’t have anyone to listen to them.”
After considering that local circumstance, McIntosh said her next thought was “I can do that; I can be that person.”
Her first step toward the degree goal was to find a way to pay for the upper-level education. Since one sister also was in school, money was tight for the family. As member of the community college’s Phi Theta Kappa honor society, however, she had hopes that scholarships available at MSU-Meridian could help cover her final two years of study.
Happily, McIntosh’s dreams were realized when she was selected for the new Riley Scholars Program at the senior institution.
Supported by the Lauderdale County-based philanthropic organization The Riley Foundation, the scholars program provides 10 two-year scholarships worth $2,500 per academic year. To be selected as a Riley Scholar, MSU-Meridian applicants must have completed at least two years of study at an area community college with a grade-point average of 3.25 or higher (based on a 4.0 scale).
After two months into the 2014-15 school year, McIntosh talked openly about how welcoming she has found the MSU-Meridian campus. While challenging, she also said her classes are interesting to the point she’s begun considering the pursuit of a master’s degree.
“Right now, I’m a full-time student and working part-time as a sales associate,” she said. “And, like any typical 21-year-old, I want to have time to hang out with friends, shop and do some traveling.
“I’m not going to look too far ahead, but just take it one day at a time right now,” she added.
For more about the MSU-Meridian scholarships, visit www.meridian.msstate.edu/student-services/financial-aid/scholarships.
Mississippi State University is online at www.msstate.edu.