2022 Emmett Comer Scholarship Winner – Audrey Donaldson

                Audrey Donaldson

When I was younger, I had many ideas about what I would do when I got older, from ‘bone doctor’ to farmer to chemist. To my great displeasure, I was frequently informed that I would have to learn some math to achieve these goals–and I hated math. As a third-grader, I referred to it as Mental Abuse To Humans. The idea that anyone would voluntarily do more math than strictly necessary seemed ridiculous.

Eventually, I forced myself to work at it because I didn’t want math to be the thing that held me back. As a homeschooled student of thirteen, I was able to work for hours a day to catch up to where I wanted to be. I developed what I would consider a business relationship with math; I understood where it would get me, but I certainly did not enjoy it.

Then, as a Running Start student, I took calculus. It blew my mind. A sense of wonder captivated me at this new world I had discovered, and I continued to take more math classes. Before I knew it, I’d taken a year of calculus. My mind has been stretched beyond what I thought possible, and I have heard more corny math jokes than I ever imagined. Because of my experiences with math, I’ve decided that I want to go into data science and continue to pursue higher education.

Outside of academics, I’ve tried to become involved in groups and gain leadership experience. One of the ways that I’ve been able to lead is through the youth leadership positions I’ve held in my church. We meet to decide on activities, schedule service projects, and make plans to reach out to those who might be struggling. I also was able to take advantage of another leadership opportunity during my Shakespeare class for my homeschooling group, where I performed the lead role of Rosalind in Shakespeare’s As You Like It. One of her lines is “Do you not know I am a woman? When I think, I must speak.” I loved Rosalind’s presence as a leader, speaking her mind. Through acting I learned that supporting others is an important leadership skill––it can be as simple as knowing someone else’s lines so that you can help them out in a bind.

Now at my old age of fifteen, I’ve learned that the world is so much bigger and brighter when I’m open to learning about new things, which is why I can’t wait to begin my journey into higher education. I want to learn new things as well as deepen my knowledge of the old things. I want to be able to apply what I learn to the real world in ways that enrich the lives of others. As I look to the future, I’m excited about the possibilities that higher education can provide me, and I’m thankful for my homeschooling experiences that have helped to prepare me