Joanna Marling, a junior with a double major in psychology and forensic biology and a double minor in criminal justice and veteran studies from Louisville, recently earned the prestigious Jo Anne J. Trow Scholarship from the Alpha Lambda Delta national honor society.
“My first reaction to receiving the Trow Scholarship was disbelief,” Marling said, adding that she had a glimmer of hope of receiving funds but thought it impossible to earn a nationally competitive scholarship. “Receiving this scholarship relieves my parents of the financial burden of helping pay for college.”
Marling is one of 50 scholarship recipients from across the country and marks the second year in a row an EKU student has been recognized by Alpha Lambda Delta. The Trow Scholarship was established in 1988 in honor of a past national president. Marling will be able to use the $2,000 as she completes her undergraduate degree and begins her professional career as a forensic science technician. She plans to continue her studies in the field of psychology in graduate school and ultimately hopes to own a practice in counseling and therapy.
“Joanna is the type of person who is driven from within to make the world a better place,” said Dr. Travis Martin, Alpha Lambda Delta chapter adviser and member of the Alpha Lambda Delta National Board of Directors. “She brings a unique leadership style and creative spark to every class. I have enjoyed watching her mature and find herself over the past few years, and I can’t think of a better scholar to represent EKU in winning this award.”
She credits Martin, Dr. Starr Wentzel, Director of First-Year Courses and First-Year Leader Program, and Debbie Abner, Residence Hall Coordinator, for encouraging her throughout her EKU journey.
“They have believed in me and supported me at my lowest points,” she said. “I am so grateful they are prominent people in my life.”
Alpha Lambda Delta celebrates academic success during the first year of college. Students who earn a 3.5 or higher in their first semester or academic year are eligible for membership.
“I got involved with Alpha Lambda Delta as a means to network and build friendships, and so far it has done just that,” Marling said. “It is a great community that promotes service but also a sense of community, and I really wanted that in my college experience.”
Besides Alpha Lambda Delta, Marling also is active in other areas of campus life, working as a Resident Advisor (RA) for North Hall, a First-Year Leader, and a Mental Health Peer Advocate. She is a member of the Crime and Chemistry Club and serves as Vice President of Promotion and Secretary for the Veterans Studies Alliance.
“She never slows down and always seems to run at full speed, but she always upholds her commitments to the fullest,” Wentzel said. “Her drive and commitment continually impress me as she emerges as an upcoming leader, working with fellow students in a variety of ways to assist them in their acclimation to EKU, finding resources and building relationships.”
Dedicated to service learning, the Alpha Lambda Delta organization has made a visible impact on EKU’s campus. During the 2020 academic year, the group collected donations for the Humane Society, donated gender-affirming clothing to EKU’s Closet TransForm, and found creative, socially-distanced ways to educate people on Autism Awareness Day, according to Martin. “I’m excited to see what this current cohort will do once campus goes back to normal this fall.”