Meet the 2023 Scholars

Get to know the hopes, dreams, and talents of this year's winners.

Montgomery M.

Undergraduate Recipient

"Write a letter to your younger self during a key moment in your life addressing one or more of the following: words of encouragement, lessons you have learned and/or challenges you have overcome."

Dear Dane, Congratulations on graduating high school and beginning your college career at the University of Kentucky. I know it's difficult right now to see how your college experience will shape your future with all the uncertainty that 2020 has offered. With all the drastic changes to your life over the past few months, however, I think you're allowed to be uncertain. When conversations are hindered by masks and the fear of illness looms heavy over your head, I understand the struggle to stay positive or hopeful. However, I can happily say that "normal" is just around the corner. Loneliness is only natural in a situation as extraordinary as the whole world essentially shutting down. Don't ever feel like you're the only one dealing with loneliness because, I promise you, you're not. The right people will come into your life at the right time—and I promise you they will be amazing—but until then lean on the people you do have in your life. Lean on your family, your friends, and your care team who all want to see you succeed. Never feel like your feelings are too much to share or bottle them up to the point of breaking. Taking care of your mental health is a must in times like these, so remember to reach out when you need help. As someone with cystic fibrosis, maintaining your physical health is a lifelong commitment. Enjoy going to the gym, sweating and running simply because you can. When you don't feel like doing your treatments, remember how fortunate you are to have medicine for your illness unlike so many others with chronic conditions. The habits that you form now will remain with you for the rest of your life, so make sure they are healthy ones! Even though it might be easy to slip out of focus, remember why you are at college. The online classes don't make it easy but keep fostering your love of learning; it will make the rest of your journey much easier. Most importantly, keep your dreams and motivations close to heart and the rest will follow. Remember the little kid who wanted to be an inventor and to help people when he grew up. Don’t let your current hardships prevent you from keeping your caring heart and creative mind because I can promise you that those goals are closer than ever. Take this new period of your life to keep gaining new skills. Every day is an opportunity to learn something new, even during a pandemic. Learn to cook new dishes, learn to speak new languages, learn to play new instruments, learn to appreciate the small things. I have full confidence that when the world does return to normal you will be a better person than you ever could’ve imagined. I wish you the best in everything and can’t wait for you to experience what I have. Go Cats! Sincerely, (Future) Dane

Montgomery M.'s Artwork

Montgomery M.'s Achievements

  • Computational Protein Engineering Research: Undergraduate Research Assistant. (Fall 2021)
  • Omega Chi Epsilon Chemical Engineering Honors Society: Incoming UK Chapter President. (Fall 2023 to Spring 2024)
  • American Institute of Chemical Engineers: Incoming UK Chapter External Vice President. (Fall 2023 to Spring 2024)
  • UK B-Fit: Co-Founder and Chief of Event Organization. (Fall 2021 to Fall 2022)
  • UK Education Abroad Program: Studied renewable energy technologies in Zaragoza, Spain. (Summer 2022)
  • University Of Kentucky Dean's List (Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023)
  • National Merit Scholarship Recipient (2020 – Present)
  • Carrabba's Italian Grill: Carside Server. (Summer 2021)