Scholarship set student on the path to advanced degree | ECTC

Scholarship set student on the path to advanced degree

December 13, 2023

Scholarships can be the difference between completing your educational goals or never even starting the journey. Melissa Huggett, ECTC graduate and KCTCS Presidential Scholarship recipient, is a perfect example.

“My goal was to go to school without having to put any financial hardship on my family,” she said. “With the scholarship and financial aid, I’ve been blessed to continue our life without adding extra burdens.”

Before she started ECTC in January 2021, Huggett never saw herself attending college at this stage of her life. She and her husband are parents of two – a daughter attending the University of Kentucky and a 12-year-old son who is homeschooled. They also have a small family farm in Bullitt County, selling produce and eggs.

“I was a stay-at-home mom for a long time, so it was really difficult to balance getting a degree while making sure my family was taken care of,” she said. “There were a lot of late nights and early mornings.”

Once Huggett started at ECTC, her goals kept expanding. First it was to gain more knowledge of agriculture to expand her family farm. After earning her associate in applied science in sustainable agriculture, however, and with encouragement from ECTC Agriculture Coordinator Ben Smith, Huggett transferred into the agriculture program at Murray State University. She should earn her bachelor’s degree in agribusiness in December of 2024, and possibly complete her master’s degree at the same time. She is considering earning a doctorate as well.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would go back to school,” she said. “If it weren’t for ECTC, I never would have gotten a degree. They made it very easy and flexible for a nontraditional student. A lot of courses were available online, professors worked with me on deadlines, and smaller classes sizes allowed for one-on-one attention. That got me through.”

Huggett works in outreach with the Kentucky Poultry Federation and volunteers with Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation in agriculture advocacy. She also will begin teaching career development in ECTC’s agriculture program in the spring.

“I can’t thank the scholarship donors enough,” she said. “They have allowed me to have success that I otherwise wouldn’t have found, and they gave an unsure student the confidence to excel in her field.”

Melissa Huggett