Morgan McKinney: Dual-enrolled student aims high with Laurel Ridge ‣ Laurel Ridge Community College
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Morgan McKinney: Dual-enrolled student aims high with Laurel Ridge

Laurel Ridge student Morgan McKinney is just 16, but she’s already soaring towards her future.

To say she is a go getter, is an understatement.

A homeschooled junior, the Rappahannock County resident already has earned close to 50 hours of credit from Laurel Ridge. On top of that, she earned an hour’s credit from Warren Wilson College in North Carolina for an archaeology field study school, and the equivalent of 18 credit hours from the University of Leceister in England.

In addition, Morgan is the leadership coordinator for Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), an honor society for two-year colleges, on Laurel Ridge’s Fauquier Campus; is running for regional PTK president; and represents Lord Fairfax on the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia. And, she has begun flying lessons.

Morgan will earn her associate degree from Laurel Ridge at the same time as her high school diploma in spring 2021 thanks to the dual enrollment program which allows students to earn simultaneous credits for high school and college for certain classes and under specific conditions.

For the 2019-2020 academic year, Morgan was awarded the Kummli Family Endowed Scholarship, which is for $1,600. The scholarship is based on academic merit, with priority given to students living in Rappahannock County.

At Laurel Ridge this fall semester, she has been taking computer and geography classes. She was a freshman in high school when she first started taking dual-enrollment classes at Fauquier.

“I have absolutely loved my geology teachers, James Hanley and Angela Bee,” Morgan says.

She has been interested in studying archeology for several years, and geology for most of her life.

“Everywhere we would go, I would have to stop and pick up some rocks,” Morgan says.

After receiving her high school diploma and associate degree, Morgan plans to transfer to the University of Aberdeen in Scotland where she will get her pursue her master’s degree in geoarchaeology. She has chosen Aberdeen because she says it is one of the best universities in the world when it comes to its geoarchaelogy.

“I really love Scotland, and it’s really safe,” Morgan says.

She says an example of the type of work a geoarchaeologist might do would be to consult on a road-building project. The person could ascertain whether the section of Earth was safe to build a road on, while also checking for any archaeological artifacts.

Choosing to come to Lord Fairfax first was not difficult. Her mother, Jan McKinney has studied at the college, and her father, Darren McKinney, teaches trade classes for Laurel Ridge Workforce Solutions.

“Plus, it’s one of the closest colleges to where I live,” Morgan says.

Getting so involved on campus was a no-brainer.

“I wanted to make my experience at Lord Fairfax memorable, and leave my mark here,” say Morgan, who recently had her first flight lesson and hopes to get her pilot’s license.

Laurel Ridge has clearly left a mark on her.

Asked if she would recommend the college to others, Morgan responds, “I do all the time to my friends.”

Learn more about the college at laurelridge.edu. Learn more about dual enrollment at laurelridge.edu/de.

Laurel Ridge Community College was known as Lord Fairfax Community College until June 2022. For consistency purposes, the college will be referenced as Laurel Ridge going forward.