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“My father left my mother and me when I was young. My mother had gotten into drugs and was a heavy drinker. I lived with her until my sophomore year of high school. She was diagnosed as bipolar and went to rehab twice. About a month before I started my sophomore year of high school, she wanted to move back to Ohio. She thought it would help her get better. I told her I really wanted to stay where I was because I already had a foundation built and wanted to finish schooling there. After many fights, she agreed to let me stay if I could find someone who would let me. At the time I was staying with my best friend at least every other weekend. His family had an extra room so they took me in. Mom went to Ohio and was clean for a little while but eventually fell back into all of the stuff she was doing. Three weeks before I graduated high school, I got a call that she had overdosed and was found unconscious. I drove to Ohio, where she died a few days later. I came back to school the day graduation practice started. Other than my mother, I never really had family in Kentucky and I definitely didn't have any who supported me. Now, I am just getting back into contact with my Dad, but I've had to do this whole college journey knowing that I had no one but myself to disappoint.”

–Ryan Bush

Ryan Bush is a NOVA student from Wolfe County. The senior communication studies major was born in Cincinnati and moved to Campton, Kentucky, when he was eight. He decided to go to college because of the Upward Bound program at EKU.

Why did you choose EKU?

In the Upward Bound program at EKU, I learned about the importance of getting a college education. I stayed on campus for three straight summers in high school, and I fell in love with it. The scenery, the location, and the city just resonated with me.

What does EKU mean to you?

EKU means hope to me. I was a horrible student coming in and I had a lot of strikes against me. I know that without the people I have surrounded myself with at EKU, I would never have had a chance. There would have been no hope for me. I love EKU so much that I want to work on this campus my entire career. I want to give back to the school that has already given me so much.

What are your plans for the future?

I plan to graduate next December with a bachelor’s degree in communication studies. After that, I hope to get hired on at EKU in an entry level position and work on getting my master’s degree in Student Personnel Services. My end goal is to be involved in student services in some way.

Who is your favorite Faculty member and why?

My favorite faculty member is Karen Rudick, one of my communication studies professors. She means so much to me. She cares about all of her students. She has helped me build my resume, be a more competent communicator, and an all-around better student. I believe she is someone who has helped any student who ever reached out to her.

What are some unique opportunities you have had at EKU?

I have had a lot of awesome things happen to me while I have been a student here. I was a peer leader for the NOVA program three times, I was an RA my sophomore year, and I have gotten to be a project manager of an entire class. I feel confident that when the right opportunity arises, I'll be ready to take that opportunity and run with it.

What has made your EKU experience a positive one?

My classmates, my professors and my fiancé. They continually encourage me to be a better student and a better person.

When you graduate, what will you miss the most?

I'm going to miss all the amazing people at EKU. I know that leaving college and getting started in the real world will come with different priorities, and some of us will drift apart. I'm not sure I'm ready for that.