“Without having to constantly worry about how I am going to fund my education, I can spend my time leading studies, joining clubs, and organizing team projects in the community.”
“Thank you so very much for honoring me as a 2017 Coast Guard Foundation Scholar. The Coast Guard has helped my family immensely over the past 30 years and it continues to hold an important spot in my heart,” wrote Caroline Kersey in her thank you letter to the Coast Guard Foundation. “This scholarship and your efforts have taken a large weight off my shoulders as I prepare to enter Virginia Tech in the fall and I cannot thank you enough for that!”
Caroline is one of 179 students the Coast Guard Foundation scholarship is supporting for the 2017/18 academic year. She graduated salutatorian in her class of 450 and this fall will attend Virginia Tech to study Biomedical Engineering. Throughout her high school career she showed her dedication to extra curricular activities, academic groups outside the classroom, and community service, all while working hard in the classroom to graduate with a 4.0 GPA.
At Virginia Tech she hopes her studies will lead to traveling and experience the world with the opportunities to connect with organizations such as Engineers Without Borders. “Without having to constantly worry about how I am going to fund my education, I can spend my time leading studies, joining clubs, and organizing team projects in the community,” she said. “College has the potential to make me an educated and experienced engineer, ready to help others.”
Caroline’s sister, Jessica, is a Coast Guard Foundation scholarship alumna who graduated with a Chemical Engineering and International Studies degree from Virginia Tech in 2015. Today, Jessica is enjoying a fulfilling career as an engineer where she travels around the world working to improve energy efficiencies.
Caroline and her family at her graduation; Rudolph Kersey and Matthew on board the Coast Guard Cutter William Flores; Lisa Kersey, Caroline, Jessica and Matthew hiking at the Cascades near Virginia Tech.
Caroline father, RFMC Rudolph Kersey (Ret.) served in the Coast Guard for 23 years after transferring from the Navy where he served aboard nuclear submarines for 11 years. Her brother Matthew has served in the Coast Guard for 11 years and is currently stationed in Chesapeake Bay, and her step-brother Steven recently graduated Coast Guard boot camp and is serving in Hawaii.
“Being part of a military family has meant a lot of time away from my father and brother, but it has also taught me a lot about responsibility and leadership,” she said. “It also gave my mom, Lisa, a chance to teach me a lot about independence as she was left on her own to raise three children most of the time. She and my father have been great role models for teaching me the importance of making sacrifices for the important things in life.”
“I hope that I can keep my dad's words of wisdom with me forever; that I remember the lessons he taught me, and the most important one being after his death: that you hold your head high and you love, unconditionally.”