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by Abi DobsonStudent Contributor

Alice Lloyd College offers a unique college experience. An experience Carlene Salyers, a senior Education major from Pound, Virginia, is beyond thankful for. Known to her peers as Carlee, she came to ALC to further her cross-country and academic career. However, ALC not only provided her the opportunity to continue her athletic career but also allowed her to stay close to home in the Appalachian Mountains and attend a 4-year college at an affordable cost. She states, “I love the small campus and the wonderful people. It is a great place. I received the typical college experience during the weekday, and I was able to see my family every weekend.” During her time at ALC, Carlee has made lifelong friends and been encouraged by many professors to excel in her undergraduate work and strive for a future career in Speech-Language Pathology (SLP). She states, “Many of my professors have gone out of their way to support and guide me.”

The limited resources disabled children receive in school caught Carlee’s attention because of her brother. “My passion is helping children who have disabilities. I have watched my brother, who has autism, struggle in the school system, and I want to help students like him succeed. Speech therapy will allow me to help students speak, which is the main way we communicate. I want to give each of them the gift of communication.” Carlee decided to major in education to pursue her dream of attending graduate school and becoming an SLP. During her time in ALC’s Teacher Education Program (TEP), she has had to complete 200 hours of observations in various schools where she encountered many situations that she could expect in her future career. While doing these observations, her eyes were opened to the number of students who struggle with disabilities and the different ways assistance is provided to them. The Education Department also gave Carlee a home on campus; she says, “I am always hanging in there and chatting with Mrs. Watts for hours!”

In addition to spending time in the Education Department, Carlee participated in Cross-Country, Track and Field, and the cheerleading squad. She has excelled in these activities as her awards include: ALC Student-Athlete of the Week, River States Conference New Comer of the Year, and RSC All-Conference team in 2019 and 2021. She is a three-time All-American cross country runner for the NCCAA, and she received the Ray Bullock Award from the NCCAA for servant leadership. Carlee also holds the impressive record of being the second female in ALC history to qualify for the NAIA National Championship in Vancouver, Washington, in 2019.   

Carlee’s success goes beyond athletics into the classroom. She is a part of Alice Lloyd College’s honors program as a Dean’s Distinguished Scholar. ALC offers recipients of the Dean’s Distinguished Scholarship guaranteed acceptance into the Caney Scholars Program, as well as guaranteed tuition for up to ten semesters. Carlee has made the President’s List every semester she has attended ALC, and she was awarded the Alice Geddes Lloyd Leadership award in 2020. Carlee is also a member of Alpha Chi National Honor Society and president of ALC’s Kentucky Education Association’s – Aspiring Educators branch.

She continues to be active on campus by completing her work-study contract as a Head Resident Advisor in Herman Hall dormitory. At ALC, every student must complete a minimum of a 160-work hour contract. Carlee exceeds the minimum and completes a 320-work hour contract by working 20 hours a week. “Being a 20-hour worker has helped me be prepared for the workload of graduate school and an actual job. I have learned how to multi-task and divide my time well to ensure that I can do everything I need to. Being a 20-hour worker has also helped me financially. It pays for a great chunk of my room and board. My brother has some medical needs that a lot of my family’s finances go towards, so it is helpful to be able to work to pay for some of my college costs.”  As Head Resident Advisor, Carlee assists in managing the women’s dorm by solving roommate conflicts and ensuring each woman feels that they are in a safe environment. In 2021, Carlee was awarded Resident Advisor of the year.

Giving the gift of education laid heavy on the heart of Mrs. Lloyd. Her reasoning for opening the Caney Creek Community Center was to provide education to the children of Appalachia because it is something every child deserves. Carlee wishes to continue with the mission of Mrs. Lloyd and come back to the area that has shaped her into who she is. She states, “I am so thankful for the campus community and the individuals who have helped along the way and the education department, most importantly, Dr. Herr. He has pushed me during the years I have been at ALC. I have become a better student and educator because of his teaching. I have enjoyed every class I have taken with him, and I will use what he has taught me in graduate school and my own classroom one day.” As Carlee is ending her time at ALC spending the Spring ’22 semester student teaching, she will always keep her time on Caney Creek close to her heart as it has in every way shaped her future and the person she is becoming.