Inspired by friends in her community, 2018 Forman Scholar Kyla Avant will dedicate her career to improving others’ lives and helping those who need it most. And because of where she’s going to college, she’ll be able to start helping others in no time at all.
In just five years, Kyla is on track to earn both a Bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy and her Master’s degree from the University of Scranton. While earning a Master’s in five years has its own advantages, to Kyla, she feels it enables her to make a difference in patients’ lives while gaining certifications quicker than a doctor or nurse.
“I’ve grown up around occupational therapy in the home of a close friend,” Kyla said. “It made me want to connect with people every day and help them reach their recovery goals. As I explored the many different areas in the field of occupational therapy, I learned that this career was even more exciting whether it be traveling or working with kids.”
Before Kyla graduated from Salem High School this past spring in the top 10 of her class, she was involved in the sign language club at the school. While it’s more of a hobby at this point in her life, she hopes to continue developing her sign language skills in college. As she says, it can help her connect with a broader range of patients, and some who have special difficulty communicating with a typical occupational therapist.
As she prepares to head off to college in just a few weeks, Kyla is fortunate to be surrounded by Forman Scholars in her life. Her older sister Mya, who is a Forman Scholar herself and Salem High School graduate currently in her third year at Penn State studying sociology. Knowing she has a sister to fall back on if she needs any advice is certainly gives her a nice bit of comfort, she says, but right now, she’s just focused on the anticipation and excitement of getting her college career underway. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the Forman S. Acton Educational Foundation is helping to alleviate much of her stress, both personally and financially, so she can remain focused on her studies this fall.
“At the Scholars Dinner I was able to connect with other scholars and hear about their college experiences,” Kyla said. “It was really helpful to hear outside perspectives and gain reassurance for my college journey ahead.”