Chemistry junior Kennedy Boyd has an end goal for college – become an immunologist. From a young age, she liked math and science, but what really drew her to the field of immunology was her father’s battle with Sickle Cell disease. “I grew up watching him in and out of the hospital, getting blood transfusions, always seeing a doctor and using different medicines and machines,” she said.
As a senior at Jenks High School, Boyd weighed her options. She knew she would have to pay for college on her own, so scholarships were critical. When she told her TU recruiter she was worried about cost, he worked with the TU Office of Admission and Financial Aid to make Boyd’s degree more affordable. “I met up with my recruiter at coffee shops and we discussed my options for payment and living arrangements that made TU feel like the best home for me,” she said. “Out of all the colleges I applied to, TU really showed me it valued me as a student.”
By her sophomore year, Boyd began thinking about studying abroad while staying on track with her degree. She wanted to explore a country that didn’t fit in the common study abroad zone of Spain, London or other areas of Europe. “I looked at the statistics and the No. 1 regret of college students is not studying abroad,” Boyd said. “There’s no other opportunity to live in another country while studying and being able to use your scholarship.”
She worked with a TU adviser to map out a customized plan including one semester at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. With the help of additional scholarships, Boyd made the once-in-a-lifetime trip, successfully managing a tough class schedule of cellular and molecular biology, organic chemistry, French and a multi-studies course. “I wanted to be surprised when I got there, so I didn’t try to do a lot of research,” she said. “It was an amazing experience.”
Boyd is a member of the National Society of Black Engineers and was part of a small group of students to revive the organization her freshman year. She plans to attend graduate school in preparation for medical school or a PhD degree. Once she determines which path she will take, Boyd looks forward to immersing herself in the world of immunology and infectious diseases, developing new immunizations and therapies to help patients like her father. “I’m the type of person that if I decide I want to do something, then it’s going to happen,” she said.