Finds Her Fit In Academic Cinderella Story
May 6, 2002-- Leah
Kiley, a bright but reticent young woman from Leesburg, packed her
bags and headed off to The University of Virginias College
at Wise. She was apprehensive about attending the small school
seven hours from her home, but her father insisted she give it a
certain she wanted to become a veterinarian, Kiley immersed herself
in the Colleges rigorous science program. But by the
end of her first semester, her grades were dismal and her determination
faltered. "I wasnt doing well in my science classes.
I didnt have a direction," Kiley said.
by her abilities in a freshman composition class, Kileys English
professor, Marla Weitzman, encouraged her to consider switching
her major to English literature. The rest of Kileys
story reads like a fairy tale with lots of awards and accolades
thrown in for good measure.
think what makes Leah such a special student is that not only is
insightful about literature, articulate about her ideas,
constructive criticism about her writing but she is so easy
to talk to," Weitzman said. "She is the kind of student you
are glad to see at your office door."
year, Kiley was awarded the Francis Currie Peake Scholarship for
excellence in literary studies. At the 2002 Awards Convocation
in May, Kiley will receive the department of language and literatures
top honor the William Elbert Fraley Award in English.
her successes as a scholar, Kiley has emerged as a confident student
leader. As a junior, she was selected by the U.Va.-Wise board
as its first student representative. During her one-year term
on the board, Kiley impressed its members with her mature manner
and thoughtful comments.
when I hit full stride and really grew as a student and a person,"
Kiley said. "It was one of the greatest things I could have done
she has served on the Colleges Honor Court and the Senior
Class Council and works as a resident adviser and a tutor. An
internship in the Division of Student Affairs cemented Kileys
interest in higher education administration.
was during my service on the board that I really decided I wanted
to focus my career on higher education," Kiley said. "I want
to help students and continue to be their voice."
English professors have encouraged her to pursue a Ph.D. in literature.
Instead, Kiley plans to work toward a career in higher education
administration and will attend Appalachian State University in the
shes changing her focus, Kiley will never stray too far from
her first love. Shell return to the College in the fall to
present a paper on Chaucer during the Medieval Renaissance Conference.
And she plans to continue work on an oral history project
about the Colleges first chancellor, Joseph C. Smiddy.
had no idea I was capable of the level of scholarship I have attained
or the level of service I have attained," Kiley said. "Im
going to graduate school, and I never even thought Id do well
Jane Meade-Dean, (540) 328-0130