“My being in college affects my children and family. My children will know that college is an option.”
Kelly Barrett hoped to be a professor, but fate intervened when she moved with her family to Colorado from Idaho and enrolled at Columbine High School just before a tragedy unfolded. As with other survivors of mass shootings, Kelly found her life forever changed. She received her diploma after transferring to another school and enrolled at Metro State ready to earn a degree, but that’s when the flashbacks began. She no longer felt comfortable in a classroom, her memory started to fail her, and she was unable to exercise one of her great passions: writing. “Essentially, my whole dream to be a college professor was gone,” she explains. Instead, Kelly chose a different path. She married a police officer and started a family.
Aspirations for a college education once dimmed reemerged when Kelly saw an ad for an online degree program at a community college. Even with two small children at home, she seized the opportunity and dove into her new studies full force, choosing to focus on human resources. After completing her first year of classes online, Kelly transferred CU Denver and successfully made the transition back onto campus. “It was hard to be in a classroom again, but the CU Denver counseling services were amazing.”
Kelly received a scholarship for her last two years at CU Denver, which allowed her to pursue an internship in human resources at a major electronics firm. “I wouldn’t have made it to this point without the scholarship,” she explains. “I come from a single income family with two children. Getting a scholarship made the difference between being able to continue with college or being put on a huge hold while I worked a regular, hourly job.”
Kelly also anticipates the ripple effect her experience at CU Denver is destined to have on her family’s future. “My being in college affects my children and family. My children will know that college is an option.”