A love of horses and an interest in psychology made Katelyn McKinney want to pursue equine-assisted therapy in college and beyond. Being an EC Scholar means she’ll have extra support and resources to do that in a place “that feels like home.”
McKinney, 18, is from Sims and the daughter of Michelle and Darren McKinney. Her four-year merit scholarship is the most prestigious undergraduate award program offered at East Carolina University and recognizes outstanding academic performance, commitment to community engagement and strong leadership skills.
At Hunt High School, McKinney loaded up on advanced courses and excelled in classes like AP biology and AP psychology.
“I love the medical field – my mom is a registered nurse,” McKinney said.
She initially thought about becoming a veterinarian, but being around horses every day showed her how calming they can be for people both mentally and emotionally.
“They’re 1,000-pound animals and take all of your attention. It puts your mind in a different zone and you can’t be distracted by anything that’s been bothering you,” she said.
Once she arrives at ECU, McKinney said she plans to join the club equestrian team as well as the campus Christian organization Cru.
“I’m excited about having a roommate and having new friends … and I’m excited to be challenged in my Honors College classes,” she said. “I know I’ll be taken care of and that they want what’s best for me.”
EC Scholars receive an Honors College scholarship for four years, along with a stipend for study abroad, for a total value of $62,000.
McKinney isn’t yet sure where she’d like to study abroad, but is considering Italy and France.
Before she comes to campus this fall, she’ll spend the summer working as a stablehand and riding her horse, Simba.
“I’m excited about having a roommate and having new friends … and I’m excited to be challenged in my Honors College classes.”
High school: Hunt High School
Intended major: Psychology