The Sky is Not the Limit

berea intern in a cockpit

“I come from an area of the country where 8% of people have a bachelor’s degree.”

Growing up in Boaz, Alabama, senior Corey Walker never envisioned himself as a college student. But when his high school counselor told him about a college in Berea, Kentucky that covers tuition for every student, Corey had a whole new set of options. He pictured himself immersed in biology courses and labs. He saw himself as a teacher and a role model for the next generation of students in his community.

Inspired by a NASA Chief Scientist’s convocation his sophomore year, Corey applied for the NASA Student Airborne Research Program (SARP). In summer 2018, Corey set out for his eight-week internship in California’s Silicon Valley. He met NASA faculty and mentors and learned about the tools he’d be using for his research.

Corey speaks with other interns

“Your money goes a long way. Someone who could not afford an education can now afford it.”

Reflecting on his summer internship, Corey said it was definitely an outside-the-box experience. “Because of Berea, I already knew how to think like a scientist. But this internship showed me I was interested in a field that I never knew about. I was being forced to think about science from a different perspective, not just biology. It really broadened my horizons.” He also hopes his experience opens the door for other Berea students to connect with NASA.

To the donors who have supported Corey’s academic journey at Berea, he says, “Your money goes a long way. Someone who could not afford an education can now afford it.” Corey adds that an investment in students at Berea is also an investment in communities like his hometown in Alabama. “And I get to go back to my community and invest in other people there.”

View photos from Corey's internship

Thank you for investing in lives of great promise. To continue to help students like Corey lift off to amazing careers, please make your year-end gift to Berea College.