Posted on Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Keegan Fry is a smart, hardworking young man, focused on a single goal – to begin Drexel University next fall. He hopes to achieve this goal through the help of scholarships, grants, and maybe just a little good luck.

Fry is the son of an American-born father and a Thai mother who speaks English as her second language. Changing jobs resulted in the many moves for the family, finally settling in Radford, Virginia several years ago.


Fry graduated this past spring from Radford High School with an advanced studies diploma and an acceptance to Drexel University in the STEM field of nanotechnology. Not long before, Fry’s father lost his job and the family’s income took a hit. Based on the encouragement of his family, Fry planned to attend a four-year university. But, faced with economic hardship, the family was unable to secure enough financial aid to send Fry to Drexel.

Margaret Sproule, Fry’s career coach at Radford High School, worked with him to create a new pathway to pursuing his dream – deferring Drexel for a year and starting classes at New River Community College. Sproule is working towards the goals of the Rural Virginia Horseshoe Initiative – ensuring her students achieve a high school diploma and college credentials/degrees. New River is one of 14 community colleges located in Virginia’s Rural Horseshoe.

“Keegan’s parents have degrees and know the importance of education. He already knew he wanted to pursue a STEM degree in nanotechnology by the time we met. My focus is usually on those students who would not see their way to college or training without a coach intervening,” said Sproule.

“Before coming to New River, I did get accepted to Drexel to study nanotechnology but couldn’t go because financial aid didn’t come through,” Fry noted. “Right now, I am taking core classes and plan to transfer to Drexel after this year if I can get financial aid to come through this time. We are looking for scholarships, grants – anything I can get my hands on to help.”

With his eye on the prize, Fry is weighing his future options when it comes to nanotechnology.

“I’m undecided on what brand of nano I’d like to go into. So far, I am considering both the medical and defense fields but haven’t decided yet.”

For now, Fry is reflecting positively on his community college experience.

“People here are great and make the transition from high school to college easier. The teachers are hands-on and will help you if you need it.”'

Amanda Christopher

Amanda Christopher is a graduate of Hollins University and Virginia Commonwealth University. A native of the DC metro area, Amanda worked in public relations for the American Red Cross before joining the Virginia Community College System as the Workforce Communications Coordinator.

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