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Finding Courage to Pursue Dreams Through the Power of YOU

Turning point

Korey Southerland dreamed of earning a bachelor’s degree and contributing something meaningful to society. Coming from an economically disadvantaged background and dropping out of high school made getting a college degree seem virtually impossible. Then she discovered the Power of YOU program at MCTC.

The Power of YOU, a program offered through MCTC and Saint Paul College, allows students to attend college tuition-free, while providing advising and counseling services to help them be successful in their education.

"When I opened the acceptance letter from the Power of YOU program my whole life changed,” Southerland says. “Ever since then I have been applying for scholarships, starting groups, organizing campus events and taking on new challenges. I am no longer scared of what is difficult – I am excited for it.” 

Inspiration for the future

During her studies at MCTC, Southerland had the opportunity to develop her interest in political science, as well as move beyond her fear of math to attain a passion for the subject – areas which play a key role in her future.

Thanks to the Power of YOU program, Southerland could pour her energy into her courses without any financial burden. She focused her attention on her studies, drawing from the guidance and encouragement she received from Power of YOU advisors.

“Advisors in the program were a support team that truly cared about me becoming successful and reaching my dreams,” Southerland says. “They were always there to talk, help me work through roadblocks or plan my future.”

Endless possibilities

After completing the transfer curriculum at MCTC, Southerland enrolled at the University of North Dakota (UND) where she will complete her B.S. in environmental geography and political science, with an emphasis in atmospheric science and a minor in math.

The chance to continue her education brought many opportunities for Southerland to expand her horizons as she eagerly participated in a variety of research projects and immersed herself in various political and community organizations. She also helped organize the Women in Science student group at UND, serving as the group’s first president. 

As she looks toward the future, Southerland celebrates her recent acceptance into an Engineering Science Ph.D. program at Washington State University (WSU) where she will pursue her doctorate in atmospheric policy. Southerland also received acceptance into the NSPIRE IGERT fellowship, a competitive National Science Foundation fellowship for integrated graduate school research. The fellowship will provide her with a $30,000 stipend and a WSU tuition waiver. As part of the program, she will also be required to complete a policy internship at an international or national agency.

“The Power of YOU was the stepping stone I needed to accomplish my dreams of achieving a bachelor’s degree,” Southerland says. “Now those dreams have extended further to earning a Ph.D. I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunities that the Power of YOU program made possible.”

Published September 2012


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