PWSC: Emily, thank you for doing this interview with me, and congratulations on graduating with your associates degree in general studies. You are in a unique position since you will now be graduating with an Associates of Arts and high school diploma. What is it like walking the halls of your high school knowing that you’re also graduating from college?
Emily: It's definitely a little weird. It feels like I'm doing things backwards, but you know it's really nice for me personally because most of my core classes were dual credits. I'm kind of taking it easy, you know, focusing on stuff like scholarship applications because at the high school I only have electives left.
PWSC: So when do you graduate from high school?
Emily: I graduate later this month (May). Actually, on the twenty-ninth, I think.
PWSC: What educational opportunities have helped you to get this far?
Emily: It helped that my dad teaches at college and my mom used to teach college. They helped me out because at my old school it definitely took a lot of pushing to be able to do dual credit. The counselor was somewhat hard to track down, so it helped that my parents knew how to navigate that.
PWSC: You mention your old school. I know you aren’t from Valdez originally. Where were you born and raised, and when did you come to Valdez?
Emily: I was born in Arkansas. I lived in Beebe, Arkansas, for the first 16 or 17 years of my life. Same town for forever…very small… until I moved here.
PWSC: So you started dual-credit courses in Beebe, Arkansas?
Emily: I started the summer before my sophomore year. I took Spanish and Arkansas history online.
PWSC: So you moved here in July of 2018, correct?
Emily: I did.
PWSC: So then you completed your dual-credit course work at PWSC when you moved to Valdez?
Emily: Yes, ma'am.
PWSC: Tell me about your academic experience at Prince William Sound College.
Emily: It's been very good. The nice thing about it is that it feels very easy to get hold of people. You know, everybody usually sticks around. I can e-mail people. I know how to get hold of them. It seems like people want to help you out. It's a very nice feeling to have.
PWSC: Would you recommend Prince William Sound College to other students?
Emily: I definitely would. Especially if you're looking for something that's somewhat more personal as opposed to a big lecture hall. That’s the nice thing about it. The classes are small, so you get a lot of time to talk to the professor and you know you can go to them for help more easily.
PWSC: What were the challenges while pursuing your college degree, and how did you overcome them?
Emily: Many of the challenges were just juggling all of it together because I had the high school classes and the college classes. You have responsibilities with extracurricular activities and at home. It’s really just about making sure that I remembered to do everything and keep track of all of it.
PWSC: So balancing and time management?
Emily: Yeah, definitely. What really helps me is the calendar app on my phone. I put in all the assignments that are due and I color code them. Yellow assignments I'm doing, green is if it's turned in, and then I put in different colors for extracurricular stuff and home stuff I have to get done.
PWSC: Has there been any person in particular that has been helpful to you?
Emily: I do think it's been cool being in Mr. Keeney’s classes because I never thought I wanted to go into emergency medical services (EMS). I never thought I would have done that. Back in Arkansas I was like, “Oh, I'm scared of blood,” and now I'm testing for my Emergency Trauma Technician (ETT) certification.
PWSC That's exciting. So what have been some of your favorite college classes?
Emily One of my favorite college classes has been the ETT class; it has been very cool. It's been very interesting and I've learned a whole lot with that. I really liked Dr. Humphrey’s (who just happens to be my dad) literature classes because they've got a sort of theme to each of them like [the one] this spring. I was in the Introduction to Literature class and it had a horror theme. It covered setting, plot, and characters, but they were all part of the horror genre.
PWSC: Tell me about your interests outside of school. So what are some of your hobbies? What do you like doing?
Emily: I like to draw. I'm in ceramics at the high school. That's really fun. I like acting, like, on stage. I like to hike. I used to roller skate back home, but I ice skate here now.
PWSC: Have you been in theater performances around here?
Emily: I have. I was in If… just this past fall and I ran sound for Pillow Man.
PWSC: Do you have anything coming up in the spring or summer?
Emily : I'm trying to see what I'm going to do job wise, but I'm thinking about helping out with tech for the Far North Follies.
PWSC: So what are your plans after you graduate from high school?
Emily: I'd like to teach high school English and drama, I think it would be very fun, and in the summers I want to do emergency medical services.
PWSC: So what are your plans for next fall?
Emily: Next fall I'm going to move up to the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and I'm going to pursue my bachelor’s in secondary education and my Emergency Medical Technician certification.
PWSC: It seems like you have interests and a good plan for your future. What is it that inspires you?
Emily: I think about where I want to be in the future and I try to think – Okay, how am I going to get there.
PWSC: So with those goals, who has helped you along the way?
Emily: My parents have been a big help. They give me a lot of advice. Mr. Keeney does too. I wouldn't have gotten into the emergency medical services stuff if I hadn't started taking his class.
PWSC: You've shared what you want to achieve, so I want to ask, what does a successful life look like to you?
Emily: To me, success looks like having an impact on other people. I subscribe to that sort of worldview, that you don't really die after you die. You die when people stop remembering you.
PWSC: What would you like to contribute to the world?
Emily: I just want to help people whatever way I can. I want to be involved in my community. I have a set of skills, and I want to do what I can with them.
PWSC: Being a young person moving forward into the world, do you have any worries about the future?
Emily: What I'm worried about is that there are many problems in the world that people don't seem very concerned about. They think it doesn't have anything to do with them. I think the best way to make sure that things change is to come together on things and decide, okay, this is a problem. We all need to come together and fix this. That sort of applies to the whole climate change deal and to all kinds of things with life.
PWSC: As we end this interview, what would you say are some of your dreams?
Emily: I guess I would really like to help people with my career. I would also like to make time, if possible, to do acting stuff, too.
PWSC: Thank you for talking with me today, Emily. Good luck with all your future endeavors!