Kaelin Travis believes in paying it forward.
The World Communion Sunday scholarship recipient attends Alcorn State University in Lorman, Mississippi, where she's pursuing a degree in agriculture.
She said her family and faith have played a big role in shaping the person she's become.
"I am very blessed to have parents that love and support me. They push me to be the best that I can be. They do criticize me, but I know everything they do is in love."
She said her home church, St. Paul United Methodist Church in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, also has been very supportive of her.
They are "always encouraging me and calling to check on me while I'm away at school," she said.
When church members heard about what she planned to study at Alcorn, she said several members who majored in the same field reached out and gave her information that really helped her.
A fellow church member also alerted Travis and her family to the World Communion Sunday scholarship.
"Receiving this scholarship has lessened the financial burden and has allowed me to concentrate solely on my studies,"
she said, adding that the funding has pushed her to work even harder.
"Knowing that people thought enough about me to give makes me want to work even harder to show my appreciation," she said.
In addition to her studies, Travis is a member of the Alcorn State University cheer squad and The National Society of Leadership and Success. She also volunteers at cheer camps for students in the surrounding area and works with youth groups sponsored by Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated.
While adjusting to college life has been a challenge for Travis, it's also been a great learning experience.
"My professors really care about me and my success. They are constantly giving me real-life experiences that will no doubt help me once I graduate from college. Working as a research assistant in the biotech lab helps me gain hands-on experience and see the difference my major can make on the world."
After Alcorn, Travis plans to attend graduate school and hopes to work as a health inspector for the U.S. Department of Agriculture one day.
She said her faith will play an important role in her life and her career moving forward.
"Caring and sharing with those who don't have has been instilled in me from both my parents and my church family. My faith is the reason so many have helped me and I believe in paying it forward and one day helping someone just as I was helped."
Julie Dwyer, general church content editor, United Methodist Communications
One of six churchwide Special Sundays with offerings of The United Methodist Church, World Communion Sunday calls the church to reach out to all people and model diversity among God's children. The special offering provides World Communion Scholarships, the Ethnic Scholarship Program and the Ethnic In-Service Training Program.
When you give generously on World Communion Sunday, you equip gifted, qualified students from around the globe to become the world changers God created them to be. Give now.