Lettie Pate Whitehead Scholar & Mom of Four

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Natalie Kelly

Name: Natalie Kelly

Major: Psychology

Minor: Research Methods

Graduation Date: December 2021

Meet Reinhardt senior, and soon to be graduate, Natalie Kelly. This amazing woman is a mom to FOUR children. “I have two kids of my own,” Kelly says. “They are 2 years old and 4 months old. I also have two bonus kids – one almost 13 and the other is 10. Their mom passed away right before my first son was born, and they moved in with us (Kelly and her fiancé) full time. I've stepped into the role of 'mom' for them. It's busy at our house.”

Busy is an understatement. While caring for four kids, Kelly is also a full-time student and has been president of the Reinhardt Lions Club for the past year, a club which she helped start. Kelly began her Reinhardt journey in January 2018. “I was a beauty school drop-out. I thought to myself ‘I need to do something with my life.’ I’ve always liked psychology, so I came to Reinhardt to pursue my degree.”

Life at Reinhardt has been eventful. She had a miscarriage, two pregnancies and two births, post-partum depression, and the death of her older kids’ mother. “It’s felt like every semester I went through something crazy.” Yet, Kelly persisted. “I’m the first generation of my family to get a college degree. I want to do better for myself and for my family. I know I have the ability, so why not keep going?”

Kelly says her professors have been instrumental throughout her journey. “They have worked closely with me and afforded great care and flexibility to help me complete assignments. If I wasn’t graduating this semester, I don’t know if I could push myself further, because it can be super stressful and overwhelming – but I’m doing it!”

Even though Kelly graduates in December, she says, “It’s not going to feel real until I cross the stage in May.” Kelly plans to take a semester off, then begin her master’s degree next fall. “I want to pursue a career in counseling with children. I believe children at a young age can benefit from guidance and assistance, especially with understanding and processing their emotions.”

Congratulations on your upcoming graduation, Natalie. See you back here for your graduate degree!