Kayla Byrd, University of Pennsylvania

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Kayla Byrd’s middle school principal encouraged her to apply to the LLI program during her 8th grade year at Monroe Alternative.  Kayla is a graduate of Columbus Alternative High School where she was involved in a wide variety of student groups, including the Baking Club (President), National Honor Society, and an Anti-Human Trafficking Organization (President).  
 
Kayla shared that she “really enjoyed meeting new students and being challenged in new ways in the LLI program.  In school we often do a lot of the same activities but we do not access the part of the brain that involves critical thinking.  As a participant in this program, it changed the way I think critically, pay attention to details, etc.  I am grateful to now have such a strong network and support system.”
 
Kayla is currently a rising junior at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and is majoring in Actuarial Science.   She has enjoyed her time at Penn thus far and said “it was definitely the right choice for me.  LLI helped me realize what qualities I was seeking in a school. “At Penn she is the outgoing Finance Chair of the Black Student League and is now the External Affairs Chair for the upcoming academic year.  She also is the Treasurer of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated.
 
Her participation in the LLI program has been useful to her in college.  “We have to make presentations often and we also have to work well in groups.  During LLI, I was accustomed to working with people who had diverse backgrounds, experiences, and opinions.  LLI taught me how to focus on facts as opposed to emotions and that has been very beneficial in my college courses, including my business ethics class.”
 
Kayla encourages prospective students to apply to LLI.  “Just do it.  You can get so much from the program.  My brother and I both benefitted from the program and he is pre-med and I am in the business school and this program helped both of us immensely.  You never know what you might pursue in the future and the program will expose you to a lot of mentors and advisors who will help you.   The ACT preparation and essay writing were both extremely useful.  Put your all into the program.” 
 
This summer, Kayla is interning in the Actuarial Science Department at Prudential Financial, Inc., in Newark, New Jersey.  She hopes to utilize her degree in Actuarial Science to pursue a career in life insurance.  She is also interested in finding ways to help children and to perform community service.