A-Z Index | Calendars | Contact Us | GoldLink | Need Help?

Search People | Search ETSU
Midway Honors Scholars Student Spotlight

Kelley Hatch-Draper

Kelley Hatch-Draper is an individual who exudes confidence.  She is full of inspirational, motivational, and encouraging words for college students.   Just one conversation with Kelley makes it evident that her optimistic and determined attitude has inspired her academic success.  Kelley’s educational career has often been challenging, but her achievements and experience as a Midway Honors Scholar have made the journey worthwhile.

Kelley is a Senior Midway Honors Scholar majoring in Speech Communication at East Tennessee State University.  Before coming to ETSU, Kelley attended Northeast State Technical Community College, where Greg Walters, Director of Northeast State Scholarship Programs, first told her about the Midway Honors Scholar program at ETSU. To meet the requirements for admission to the Midway Honors Scholar program, Kelley learned she needed a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5 and either her associate degree from a community college or at least 30 credits earned at another university.  Knowing t she met these qualifications, Kelley applied.  Although the program is extremely competitive, Kelley’s strong resume and drive for success gained her selection as a Midway Honors Scholar at ETSU

The move from a 2-year community college to a 4-year public university definitely has its advantages and disadvantages.  Kelley points out that completing the initial core course work   required to obtain an associate’s degree at a 2-year school is a tremendous advantage when you are admitted to the Midway Honors Scholar Program because more focus can be placed on one’s major area of study and research.  Kelley adds, “Plus, I think you already have 2 years under your belt and an associate’s degree, so you know you can do this. There is more incentive to get your bachelor’s degree because you already have the momentum going.”  One disadvantage that Kelley notes is the difference in the size of the student body at the two institutions. At Northeast State, Kelley became accustomed to having small class sizes and professors who knew most of their students by name.  She notes that transferring to ETSU presented a new challenge of adjusting to the larger classes.  Nonetheless, the change to 4-year University at ETSU has been a rewarding one for Kelley.

Kelley reports that the experience at ETSU as a Midway Honors Scholar has presented several benefits.  First, she notes the mentorship of Dr. Rebecca Pyles, Dean of the Honors College, and Dr. Michael Cody, Director of University Honors and Midway Honors Scholars Programs at the time, has been invaluable.  “I’ve had a ton of problems with ETSU paperwork, and they have greatly helped in dealing with these problems.  It’s nice having advocates,” said Kelley.  She also notes that Dr. Pyles’ words of encouragement have given her an extra push to overcome the various obstacles she has faced.

Another benefit that Kelley reports is the relationships formed in and out of the classroom.  As a Midway Honors Scholar, she has had the opportunity to develop successful relationships with professors.  Kelley commends the professors stating, “They are always willing to help and tell you what you need to do for classes, and what you need to do in preparation for grad school.”  In addition to the relationships with professors, Kelley notes Midway Honors Scholars establish close relationships with each other.  “The camaraderie among the students is truly an awesome experience; we all get along and back each other up. It’s been incredible,” said Kelley.  In addition to the significant relationships that Kelley has developed over the past few semesters as a Midway Honors Scholar, she has also had the opportunity to engage in a formal research project for her Senior Honor Thesis.

As a Midway Honors Scholar, Kelley is required to complete an Honor Thesis in her field of study that details research or a creative project that she is involved in during her senior year. Kelley’s Senior Honor Thesis is focusing on how cell phone usage has changed society regarding acceptable conversations in public. Kelley notes that in her research, she is finding that people openly discuss a variety of confidential topics (e.g. abortion, cheating on taxes and tests, their social security number, and their address) in very public places, such as bathrooms and airplanes. Kelley jokingly comments, “I have determined that these people are in a personal cell cocoon. They forget that people are around them. “Due to the research opportunities that the Midway Honors Scholar Program has offered Kelley, she has been awarded the “Paul Walwick Emerging Scholar Award” from the ETSU Department of Communication.  Kelley says, “Receiving this award is a direct result of the research I have done through the Midway Honors Scholars Program.”

Being a Midway Scholar affords students the opportunity o travel to wonderful cities to present papers. “Last year a paper I wrote concerning the speech by French President Nicolas Sarkozy to the US Congress was accepted for presentation at the Southern States Communication Association's Theodore Clevenger Honors Conference held in Savannah, GA.  Additionally, I have been asked to present again this year at the SSCA Conference in Norfolk, in April, on my paper entitled "The Rhetoric of Fear: Maintaining the Status Quo in the Secessionist South and Defeating the Equal Rights Amendment."  This was made possible through a travel grant from the Honors College.

Kelley encourages other students who may be interested in the Midway Honors Scholar Program to apply.  “Do it. You’ll never regret it,” says Kelley.  She also adds that the financial assistance that the Midway Honors Scholars Program offers will alleviate the stress of paying for tuition/fees and books.  Kelley says, “Knowing that you’ve got that safety net makes it easier to concentrate on your studies because you don’t have to spend time on the internet looking up scholarships.”  She also encourages other Midway Honors Scholars to embrace the experience and the opportunities available to them.  “Never give up.  Anything worth doing is worth doing well.  There is no such thing as can’t, there’s just won’t,” says Kelley.

As for Kelley, she plans to continue her education after she receives her Bachelor’s Degree spring 2009.  Her first goal is to obtain a Master’s degree and then a PhD that will enable her to play an integral part in educating others as a classroom teacher and researcher.  Kelley also has an interest in being a motivational speaker.  She hopes to speak to college students about making their own plans for their future, and not necessarily following the plans that their parents or others develop for them.  In addition, she wants to help these students find where their passion lies and discover  their true interests in life, so they will be happy with whatever career path they may choose.

USPS Mailing Address:
Midway Honors Scholars
East Tennessee State University
PO Box 70294
Johnson City, TN 37614-1701

Phone: 423.439.7881
Fax: 423.439.7880
email:  mhscholars@etsu.edu

Street Addresses of The Honors College offices:
  Administration: Yoakley Hall, Room 129
161 S. Dossett Drive
University & Midway Scholars: Ada Earnest House
310 S. Dossett Drive
Honors-in-Discipline Programs: Yoakley Hall, Room 206
161 S. Dossett Drive
Fine & Performing Art Scholars: Yoakley Hall, Room 206
161 S. Dossett Drive
Undergraduate Research: Yoakley Hall, Room 129
161 S. Dossett Drive
International Programs & Services: Yoakley Hall, Room 122
161 S. Dossett Drive

East Tennesssee State University The Honors College