Thrive Scholars

Moriah Shephard, General Manager for OWL Radio
Thrive Scholar, Class of 2019
Interviews Grammy Award-Winning Artist Tori Kelly as a part of her Atlanta-area radio internship

Moriah Shephard"During the Thrive Program, I was able to gather the necessary tools to succeed in college, become comfortable with the campus, meet new friends even before the semester started, gain early registration for that semester, and have the on-going support from everyone involved in the program,” she said.

Moriah took her experience with Thrive and wanted to give back to the program by serving as a Peer Leader. Then, as she entered her major coursework, she was named television director of Owl Radio and starred in her own radio show. Soon after investing hard work in the radio station, she became the new General Manager of Owl Radio!

Through the years, Moriah has continuously stayed on the Dean’s List and maintained the HOPE scholarship, all while being a full-time student working two jobs. She is a member of the Honors Program and Lambda Pi-Eta, the Communication honors society.

In the Spring of 2019, after 4-years at KSU, Moriah will graduate with her B.S. She hopes to work in entertainment and sports broadcasting.

“Thrive has truly guided me to be the student I am today. Without them this journey could have been a rocky road, but with their help I was able to succeed and lead others along the way,” she said.

Moriah Shephard Thriving in Radio As Graduation Nears

  Michael EddingtonMichael Eddington

Thrive Scholar, International Business Major, Class of 2023

Michael Eddington is a freshman at Kennesaw State University.  He felt that between the atmosphere, the endless networking opportunities and the diverse student body, Kennesaw State was the school for him. He also knew that the many resources offered at the university, including Thrive and Coles College of Business, would help him achieve his long-term goal of becoming a successful International Business Analyst.

“Upon entering Kennesaw State University as an incoming freshman, I had numerous things to be concerned and nervous about, including acceptance, the pressure to succeed, and if I would maintain the grades required to keep scholarships. These were the thoughts that echoed through my mind as the coming school year approached. I was unsure of who to talk to and I felt that I needed guidance, a plan, and directions on how to survive college,” he said.

Michael joined the Thrive Program because he wants to become a driving force for change in his community, which he said would require him to change first.  Michael stated, “I didn’t want my growth to become stagnant. I wanted to thrive and surpass my limits in my academic career. Finding the Thrive Program was just what I needed to accomplish these goals and persevere through the many trials that were soon to come. My graduation coach inspired me to work hard and to meet the expectations that I set for myself. She motivated me to press down the path of higher education, so that I would become that driving force.”

When Michael tried to recall the ways Thrive has already helped him, he said there were too many to count. “Thrive has helped me in so many ways and recently it’s opened new doors for opportunities around campus. Without my graduation coach, the conferences, the motivational speakers and the countless events held around campus, I don’t believe that I would have made it through my first semester of freshman year. These events inspired and motivated me to keep pushing and they remind me not to give up when things get hard. Recently I decided to further my Thrive experience at a leadership level, and I couldn't be happier to give back to the students and staff, what they gave to me.”

He said that Thrive is a great opportunity for high school seniors to make a smooth transition into their college experience. “It’s a unique program that supplies students with the resources that are necessary in order to not only meet the standards of HOPE, but to also excel into peak levels of engagement and learning that will prove valuable in our future careers.”

Since starting college Michael has already successfully acquired two internships (Fannie Mae & Cobb EMC), joined the Student Accounting Society, and has set a goal to join the business fraternity Beta Alpha Psi when his class requirements for membership are met.

“I’ve participated in nearly 30 KSU events, while also having the time to indulge in 20 hours of community service during my first semester. I owe this to the Thrive program for pushing me to become the best person I can be.  I’m taking opportunities that I never thought were possible and doors are opening to new futures. Without the Thrive community, I don’t believe I would be where I am at now.  I credit this to the relationships and bonds that have been created with not only the students but also the staff who run the program, for how far I’ve come and I look forward to the years ahead.”

Amber White, B.A. Communications
Thrive Scholar, Kennesaw State University Alum, Class of 2016

Shortly after I decided to come to KSU, I learned about the THRIVE program and decided I would give it a try. It helped prepare me and my parents for what to expect as a new college student. It also helped me meet a large group of people before classes even started. The Thrive graduation coaches and my wonderful KSU Seminar professor (Dee Grindell) helped motivate me to not only stay involved, but to do well in my classes and keep the HOPE scholarship. Overall, THRIVE really did help me thrive my freshmen year and helped create and instill habits that carried me through the next four years. I have since graduated and now have the honor of working for KSU in the University Events department where I get to plan events around campus. I love working for the school that gave me so much and I love seeing that THRIVE continues to grow and help more students each year. I recommend THRIVE to all students that I know that are coming to KSU because college can be a huge adjustment, but the THRIVE program can make it easier.

Malik Lyder
Thrive Scholar, Class of 2020

Malik Lyder is a sophomore majoring in International Relations with a minor in Spanish. Malik is a Zell Miller, R.A. Bowen and Peyton Anderson scholar and has been named to the KSU Dean’s List. Malik was also invited to join KSU’s first year honor society Phi Eta Sigma in recognition of his academic achievements.

He volunteers yearly with the American Lupus Society and enjoys teaching computer literacy skills to adults as part of the Thrive Program. Last spring (April 2017) Malik was one of 194 college students from across the country selected by JP Morgan Chase to attend their Freshman Experience Seminar in New York City where he received a valuable introduction into the financial services industry!

In addition, Malik recently returned from spending several weeks in Oaxaca, Mexico where he lived with a host family while attending college, to continue enhancing his fluency in Spanish. While in Oaxaca, he also taught English speaking lessons to young adults studying the English language.

Upon graduating from KSU Malik plans to pursue his Master’s Degree in International Affairs and Public Policy, he hopes to one day work with the United Nations (UN) to help initiate global change among the nations of the world.

Mikah Umana

Thrive Scholar, Class of 2020

Mikah originally chose to attend Kennesaw State University because of the Thrive Program and her interest in studying nursing.  However, she was the first in her family to attend college and that made her nervous.  

“My family supported me in getting a proper education, but I was nervous about how well I would do academically in college. In addition, I commuted from a family member’s house 20 minutes away from campus and I wondered if I would make any friends, since I was not living in a college dorm like other kids my age,” she said.

She chose to join Thrive because she barely missed getting the HOPE Scholarship in high school. “I didn’t have HOPE coming into college and I really wanted to learn how to obtain it and maintain it. I reached out to Thrive with my guidance counselor, asking them to give me a chance and they did!  It was the best decision I ever made and I am very thankful for them,” she stated.  And, yes, she did earn the HOPE Scholarship at KSU and will complete her degree with it intact!

Mikah credits the guidance she received all four years at KSU from her Thrive graduation coach as a key factor in her success. She stated, “My coach has helped me transition from three different majors to find my best fit here at KSU. Without her help I wouldn’t have known all of the great opportunities KSU has to offer and I wouldn’t have been pushed to the best of my ability.”

Mikah believes that joining Thrive is important for high school seniors because “college is the first step in creating who you want to be in life. You go through many transitions and experiences that you may or may not expect and it is nice to have some consistency during that time. Thrive was the place where I could talk about my decisions, improve my odds for success, and figure out what best suited my needs and desires. They understand that college and life can be hectic sometimes. They do all that they can to make it easier for you by providing workshops, personal meetings, communities within your major, and much more!”

Since the start of her journey at KSU, Mikah has gotten involved KSU Miracle and the Phi Mu sorority, as well as working part-time to help pay for college.  She shared that “Thrive helped me in this journey because I met my first KSU friend, Mari Grace, in Thrive my freshman year.  We both started off as nursing majors and that was when I found KSU Miracle. Although I'm not a nursing major anymore, I care deeply about helping other people, especially kids.  Both Mari Grace and I, along with other Thrive and KSU students, come together once a year for the KSU Miracle Dance Marathon and it is truly a rewarding experience.”  

When Mikah graduates, she plans to thrive in the world of international marketing and continue to impact the lives of children wherever she lands!