I Knew Them When (EDITORS NOTE)

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 68 views 

What were you doing when you were 16?

When she was 16, Lauren Kegley was starting her freshman year of college. She moved a couple of times while growing up in Arkansas, and both times was allowed to skip a grade at her new school because she had already completed the required curriculum at the previous school.

She skipped grades 2 and 10, graduated from Central Arkansas Christian when she was 15 and enrolled at the University of Arkansas later that fall.

Parents, put yourselves in these shoes — can you imagine sending your 16-year-old daughter to a college campus?

“Needless to say, my mother was a little clingy those first few months of college,” Kegley said.

Seven years later, Kegley is closing in on her master’s degree from the UA, and is already working toward a Ph.D. She’ll turn 23 in July.

It’s no wonder, then, that Kegley was chosen as a member of this year’s Fast 15 class, devoted to acknowledging the accomplishments of a group of young professionals that has already convinced their peers and employers they are on the fast track to success.

Our special section of profiles introducing this year’s honorees begins on Page 8. They work in various fields and have an assortment of individual specialties and stories that separate them from the crowd.

While I make special note of Kegley, each member of this year’s class has his or her own unique story. Their enthusiasm, drive and humility has been evident, and at some point in the last few weeks, I have bragged to my colleagues about a fact or accomplishment I learned about all the honorees I had a chance to visit with.

Yes, bragged. For me, that really is the best part of this recognition program. To track the careers of the young professionals we’re spotlighting today, and perhaps be able to one day say, with a little satisfaction, “I knew them when.”