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WVPBA Scholarship Recipient Katie Kuykendall


By Cindy Baugher 


Katie Kuykendall, recently named PBF scholarship recipient for the WV division of the PBA, has already graduated from Potomac State College and is now attending West Virginia University. After earning associate degrees in both business management and communications studies, she plans to major in both of those areas at WVU as well. Since she has always been interested in the business aspect of the publishing industry, her professional goal is to work in publishing as an editor, eventually becoming a publisher herself.   


Katie and her family at graduation


Katie has always been an avid reader and for this she credits her mom, who read to her every night when she was a young child. She recalls being “enthralled by the lands and heroines she read about. I have known what I wanted to do with my life since I was eleven years old.  Reading has been an important aspect of my life…and that is why I aspire to work in the publishing industry.” Katie’s name is even influenced by books. Her mother chose her first name because she’d “never known a Katie that was unhappy”. But she chose her middle name, Anne, because it’s the title character in one of her favorite books, Anne of Green Gables


Katie’s father has been in law enforcement for 25 years, starting off with a stint in the military police in the U.S. Army. He is currently a sergeant for the West Virginia Natural Resources Police. The NRP protects the wildlife of West Virginia by enforcing state laws and codes. Katie says, “My father’s profession has instilled honesty and diligence in me. Growing up, my dad has been one of the most honest and hardworking people I know. I will probably never meet anyone quite like my dad. I know that if something is broken, my dad will have the knowledge and skills to be able to fix it, no matter what it is. I know if I ever get lost, my dad will find me. I know that my dad will do whatever it takes to protect me. If I had to choose one word to describe my dad, it would be protector. He is the protector of me, the community, and of wildlife.” It is because of her dad’s membership in the PBA that Katie was able to apply for the PBF scholarship that she earned. She says she is “sincerely honored and would like to thank the foundation for its gracious generosity.”  


It is easy to see why Katie was chosen for this scholarship recognition. In high school she was in the top 7 percent of her graduating class with a cumulative 4.4 GPA, a member of the National Honor Society in grades 11-12, and graduated with a semester’s worth of college credits. In her senior year of high school she participated in an internship program with an optometrist practice which sparked her interests in communication studies. Katie was also active as a volunteer in her local community theater where she helped build sets and design costumes. These days she stays busy as an intern at Kessel Lumber Products, Inc. where she calculates pay for the employees, pays bills, generates invoices, and pays vendors, loggers, and customers through QuickBooks, all while maintaining her college cumulative GPA of 3.949. Katie has been on the President’s List and a member of the Potomac State Honors Program every semester while enrolled at Potomac State. In addition, she was inducted into Sigma Phi Omega Honors Society and named the 2022-2023 Outstanding Student because of her contributions to the community and for her academic success. She also reads to young children through a bilingual reading project and still enjoys volunteering with the community theater and her family’s church.   


Katie and friends in costume


Katie’s years growing up in Petersburg, West Virginia (a small tourist town/retirement community in the eastern panhandle of the state) were special to her. She describes it as a place where “one person’s accomplishments are broadcast throughout the community, and everyone congratulates each other. This town is surrounded by nature and when the flowerage is in bloom the area becomes magical. The way the sunlight shines through the leaves and the running of the river can capture the mind and make everything else seem arbitrary.”  Katie grew up in Petersburg with her mom, who is a certified ophthalmic assistant, her dad, the NRP Sergeant, and one brother, who is a senior in high school, planning on a college career himself.  


It's obvious that Katie’s academic successes and life goals have been heavily influenced by her love of reading. The same is true for her favorite quote. It’s from The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger: “What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn't happen much, though.” She adds, “After I finish a good book, sometimes I wish I could read it again for the first time and experience it all over again.”  


Natural Resources Chapter (WVPBA) President Steve Haines presents a check to Katie Kuykendall.
Also pictured are her parents, Adam and Elishia

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