Andrew Byrd, Iredell Jenkins Endowed Memorial Scholarship

Majors: International studies (concentration in Western Europe and French, in the Accelerated Master’s Program in French) and philosophy (concentration in jurisprudence)

Hometown: Louisville, Tennessee

Favorite Experience at UA: My greatest accomplishment here at The University of Alabama has been integrating myself into such a wonderful community of fellow scholars. As the pandemic has shown, community and personal relationships are vital to one’s happiness and sense of well-being. The faculty and my fellow students here at the University have made my time as an undergraduate profoundly meaningful, and all of my accomplishments are thanks to the tremendous support from my professors, friends, and family. Moreover, my employment at UA has been especially formative to my personal growth as both an individual and scholar. As a Residential Advisor for Housing and Residential Communities, I have enjoyed building vibrant residential communities and befriending other Residential Advisors passionate about higher education. My Community Director of two and a half years, Kyle Loggins, has provided me guidance in creating a community in which residents feel welcomed, connected, and well informed about the innumerable resources UA offers students. Likewise, I have enjoyed educating residents about college life and hosting community engagement programs at which residents may meet and befriend other residents. I myself have also met some of my closest friends in my residential hall community. These friends, such as Emily McKenzie and Theodora Stoker, have given me so many wonderful memories and so much morale support throughout my undergraduate years. The community at my residential hall has helped me to thrive personally and professionally. Working as an Avanti for the Office of Orientation and Special Programs was also a formative experience of mine. As an Avanti, I cultivated and refined many soft skills, like public speaking, conflict resolution, and effective communication. I worked with a team of fellow student leaders to provide incoming undergraduates engaging, informative Bama Bound sessions throughout the summer. The goal of these sessions was to educate students and to integrate them into the campus community. Every day, my colleagues and I strove to facilitate students’ transition from high school to The University of Alabama. My experience as an Avanti introduced me to hundreds of students from across the country, and I performed a crucial role in their transition to college life by providing them knowledge on UA and by connecting them to campus resources. The long hours and the countless presentations revealed to me how much work goes into building a dynamic community, and I learned to better appreciate the richness of UA’s social and intellectual campus culture. While at The University of Alabama, I achieved many of my academic and personal goals. However, I never would have succeeded without the immense support of my professors, friends, and family as well as the formative experiences I had as a Residential Advisor and Avanti.