Rachel grew up in a humble home surrounded by family members who fostered her love for others at an early age. It was during her teenage years though when Rachel’s passion for public service extended to the people in her community and at her high school.
When she was just a 14-year old freshman, Rachel joined a team of visionaries to help found The Center for Family Solutions, a nonprofit in Butler County 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 through awareness campaigns. Rachel’s platform of abuse prevention broadened over the course of her sophomore year 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). The organization, comprised of 30 high school students, focused on engaging young people in active citizenship while teaching them the fundamentals of grant writing, fundraising and the nonprofit world. 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 project. Although she was the youngest person to serve on the committee alongside the community’s brightest thinkers, leaders and agents of change, her ability to network and offer fresh insights planted many seeds that are now bearing fruit as construction for the BGCA is expected to begin next year.
Rachel spent her first year as an Ingram Scholar at Vanderbilt 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 house residents cooked dinner for and served Nashville’s homeless population. If one word could sum up the focus of her service it would be “education.” She, along with fellow scholars Alex Bogdon and Ryan Selvaggio, tutored Nashville’s youth in free ACT test prep every week at the Oasis Center through their service-learning class. Perhaps her most rewarding service was waking up every Thursday at 4:00am to teach a class of girls in Pakistan via Skype, an opportunity courtesy of fellow Scholar Lisa Koenig who started the Vanderbilt-Pakistan Connection. A joint commitment, Rachel and her roommate wrote lessons about American culture and other subjects that all ultimately revolved around the goal of empowering these Pakistani youth.
After her freshman year, Rachel forged beyond the Skype classroom and travelled nearly the same distance to another part of the world—Africa. Thanks to the Ingram Scholarship Program, Rachel spent eight weeks in Uganda conducting a 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 allowed her to create a comprehensive report for Teach Twice to better understand how its organizational capacities can most effectively meet the demonstrated educational needs in the Nakikungube village where Teach Twice book profits are supporting a secondary school building project.
Rachel is forever grateful to the Ingram family for the Ingram Scholarship Program. She dreams to empower others simply by letting her light shine—a hope that, in its rawest form, is rooted in her genuine willingness to love authentically, give generously, walk faithfully, speak kindly and serve daily.