by David B. Snow
The Paducah Sun
February 9, 2020
Used with permission.
Kamari Turnley always wanted to work in the medical field. She was a Lourdes Hospital Rising Star in high school. Her father, Marcus, is a physician assistant-certified at Mercy Health-Lourdes Hospital, and Kamari felt that working in that field would be a way for her to help others.
Today, she works in the neuroscience intensive care unit at the largest medical center in the world, a career path aided by the McCracken County Community Career Endowment Fred and Peggy Paxton Scholarship.
Turnley was a member of the PaxtonScholars Class 2, graduating from Paducah Tilghman High School in 2013. She took her scholarship and laptop with her to the University of Kentucky, where she earned a degree in health, society and populations.
"I got the scholarship when I was a junior in high school," she said. "That was pretty different, because most of the time, you don't get a scholarship until you're a senior. So, having the PaxtonScholar as a junior means you really start thinking about college earlier than expected.
"I started doing ACT prep, narrowing down the schools that I wanted to apply to, what they required, what I wanted to do with my life. I think, as a junior, it made me become more focused."
At UK, Turnley joined the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. She earned a William C. Parker scholarship and forged her leadership skills in several areas in college.
"That was the best time of my life," she said. "I was a diversity ambassador for the Health Colleges, I was a homecoming liaison and, of course, I enjoyed the basketball games and the football games.
"I felt like I was always a leader in high school, even in my church."
After graduating from Kentucky in 2017, Turnley went straight into the nursing master's program at Bellarmine University in Louisville.
"It had a more intimate learning style," she said. "At UK, I had about 300 students in a class, but at Bellarmine, it was 30 or 40, so that's a big difference."
Today, Turnley works in the neuroscience intensive care unit at the Texas Medical Center in Houston, the largest medical center in the world.