From a blueberry farm in Kansas to the White House, Abigail’s journey has been anything but typical.
Abigail, the oldest of six children, grew up on her family's blueberry farm, and from early in life, she recognized the value of hard work.
"In order for our family business to thrive and succeed, our entire family had to work hard together. Hard work and perseverance helped us grow closer as a family. Our business would not be where it is today without the hard work each of us put into the farm."
Abigail’s younger brother led the way and attended College of the Ozarks before she did. Intrigued by the work program, Abigail applied, but was not admitted. Knowing the opportunity to work, rather than pay, for her education was rare, she was admittedly devastated.
“I was overcome with disappointment. A year later, I decided I would apply one more time, and if I did not get accepted, then I would know that God had closed the door on college attendance; College of the Ozarks was my only option for higher education,” Abigail said.
Thankfully, on the second try, Abigail was admitted. As she describes it: “...it's been an adventure ever since.”
Abigail’s first workstation was the student cafeteria, where her work ethic would be put to the test. As a cook’s assistant, she worked diligently making food for her peers. She did well and was able to apply for reassignment as a resident assistant in a women’s residence hall. She now works in the College’s Public Relations Office, where she writes press releases, welcomes guests, and helps manage events.
“All of my jobs have given me experience in navigating interpersonal relationships and learning how to problem solve. I’ve learned so much. From interacting with media to greeting guests and giving tours of the campus, I have grown in my communication skills.”
Her time as a student has been formative in many ways, including the development of her faith.
“I have been encouraged in my faith and challenged. Having Christian professors and supervisors has encouraged me when life became difficult…God’s word says that God loves me like he loves Jesus; so no matter what, in Him, I am successful.”
Abigail’s mature, positive attitude has led her to success beyond Hard Work U.® During the fall 2019 semester, Abigail was accepted as an intern in the White House in Washington, D.C. The landing of this extremely competitive position is proof that hard work and determination can facilitate the American dream.
“I had a behind-the-scenes look …I learned that seeking the truth, not just believing the media or hearsay, is crucial to being an informed citizen.”
In fact, Abigail enjoyed her time at the nation’s capital so much that she hopes to continue work there upon graduation from College of the Ozarks.
Abigail will graduate in December 2020.