Allison Kent had never heard about the Presidential Scholarship before someone from Georgia State called her and suggested she apply for it. “My mom said, ‘Well, you definitely have to go for that,’” she remembers. “I applied for it kind of blindly, but then I went to a few sessions at the Honors College, and I just loved everything about the program.”
When Honors College Dean Larry Berman called Kent to tell her she’d won the scholarship, she “immediately sent an e-mail that I was going to accept the offer, and I didn’t look anywhere else after that.” So far, she says, Georgia State is living up to its first impressions as a diverse, active campus with an excellent nursing school — and something new and different around every corner.
Making Science Social
Growing up in Marietta, Kent was an active athlete, competing on her high school’s soccer and cross-country teams. She also coached younger kids in soccer and swimming. When one of the teachers in her school’s health-professions track gave a presentation about the nursing field, Kent decided pediatric nursing might be her calling.
“I love being around kids and people in general,” she says. “And nursing combines the science interest I have — I loved chemistry in high school — and my interest in working with people. It’s the perfect pairing of working with people and practicing medicine.”
When she started evaluating potential colleges based on their nursing schools, Kent found more and more to like about Georgia State. “I really loved how Georgia State’s in the middle of the city,” she says. “There are plenty of opportunities and outlets for internships and clinicals in the local hospitals — there are like five hospitals right in the immediate area. It kind of felt like a real-world setting, and I just really loved how I could work in the hospitals and have that real-world experience. In a lot of schools they don’t have that — you learn everything in the classroom.”
New Horizons, New Adventures
Kent is originally from Marietta, but says her background doesn’t fit the homogenous stereotype many people commonly associate with the suburbs. “My high school was a very diverse school — I was actually in the minority,” she says. “So I really love the diversity of Georgia State. It ties into that whole real-world experience. When you can work with people from other cultures and backgrounds, it’ll transfer to your daily life.”
With bilingual people in increasingly high demand in the health care field, Kent is also pursuing a minor in Spanish. She says she’d like to take advantage of the study-abroad opportunities made available to Presidential Scholars by doing a summer program in Spain.
“Exploring” is something Kent enjoys no matter the place, and though she and her family visited downtown Atlanta often for Braves games and the like, she says she’s looking forward to the chance to roam the city on her own. “I get lost a lot,” she says, laughing, “but it’s fun kind of exploring the city, and I’m really excited about that. There’s always something to do.”
Kent may not be on her own for long — one of her younger brothers has started looking at colleges himself, and he’s looking at Georgia State as a possibility. His older sister is already proving to be a strong advocate. “Just because of the diversity and the outreach and all the different opportunities here,” she says, “I feel like I found a hidden gem in the cement oasis of downtown Atlanta.”