Rachel grew up in a home surrounded by family members who fostered her love for others at an early age. It was during her teenage years when Rachel’s passion for public service extended to a wider sphere. At 14 years old she joined a team of visionaries as a founding member of The Center for Family Solutions, a nonprofit in Butler County, Ohio that provides support and counseling services for victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence. A survivor herself, Rachel empowered other teens to share their story by mentoring them and by becoming a spokesperson for the Center through its advocacy awareness campaigns. Rachel’s platform of abuse prevention broadened over the course of her sophomore year of high school when she took her efforts to a state level. Working together with a state representative, Rachel testified before the Ohio House of Representatives Criminal Justice Committee to change an existing law that better protects at-risk adolescents from abuse by increasing penalties for offenders.
Rachel also dedicated her high school career to philanthropic initiatives by serving through the West Chester/Liberty Township Community Foundation’s youth advisory board “Youth in Philanthropy” (YIP). This organization focuses on engaging young people in active citizenship while learning the fundamentals of grant writing, fundraising and working in the nonprofit sector. Because of her leadership in YIP, Rachel was asked to join a Boys and Girls Club of America (BGCA) steering committee and invested the rest of her high school career in this initiative. Although she was the youngest person to serve on the project team, her insights helped pave the way for the grand opening of West Chester's first BGCA in May 2014.
Rachel spent her freshman year as an Ingram Scholar exploring new realms of service while still keeping involved in activities relevant to her passions from high school. In her position as Crawford House Service Commissioner, Rachel organized trips to Room In The Inn where residents cooked dinner for Nashville’s homeless population. She also became involved in the Vanderbilt-Pakistan Connection where every Thursday at 4:00am she taught an English class to students in Pakistan via Skype. After her first year at Vanderbilt, Rachel forged beyond the Skype classroom and traveled nearly the same distance to another part of the world—Africa. Rachel spent eight weeks in Uganda conducting an Ingram Summer Project on behalf of Teach Twice, an organization that improves global literacy through stories and the exchange of culture. Her field research and feasibility studies culminated in a comprehensive report that provided Teach Twice with a better understanding of how its organizational capacities can most effectively meet the demonstrated educational needs in the Nakikungube village.
During sophomore year, Rachel taught ACT test-prep at an inner-city high school and continued her service with Vanderbilt-Pakistan Connection as Lesson Developer. Also, as a result of taking a songwriting course through the Blair School of Music, Rachel organized the first-ever student/songwriter concert at Room In The Inn. She plans to co-teach a songwriting course there at the shelter beginning in August. For her second Ingram Summer Project, Rachel traveled to Phnom Penh where she worked at an organization called Children for Change Cambodia (CCC). The project involved piloting a social action curriculum that engages at-risk youth from one of the city's poorest districts in community service.
Rachel is forever grateful to the Ingram family for the Ingram Scholarship Program. Her hope is to empower others by loving authentically, giving generously, and serving daily.