As the eldest child in her immediate family and the first in her family to earn a college degree, Kaylor Bass understands how important it is to lead by example.
Originally from the island of St. Kitts, Bass came to the U.S. Virgin Islands to attend the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) because it was close to home and the Government of St. Kitts was offering a partial scholarship to UVI. While she knew that moving away from home meant dealing with change and managing new experiences along the way, when she arrived in St. Thomas, she had no idea just how many challenges she would face.
The COVID-19 pandemic hit during Bass’ first semester at UVI, bringing countless unforeseen adjustments to her plan, her schedule and her life, including returning to St. Kitts.
“We were the first group of students who didn’t have a choice about taking online courses. There was no other option if we wanted to continue. Keeping a schedule was very difficult, which was a challenge, especially when you live in a home with five other individuals and lots of noisy animals. So that was truly an experience,” the Psychology major recalled.Kaylor Bass
Despite the highly unconventional start to her college career, Bass persevered. When she returned to campus in 2021, UVI was offering some hybrid classes, some fully online, and some in-person classes.
Bass noted that the University was diligent in complying with the pandemic-related guidance issued by the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC), including social distancing, and the use of masks, and appreciated that free testing opportunities were readily available.
Looking back, Bass appreciates the knowledgeable, understanding and warm professors who taught her at UVI, many of whom are experts in their fields. Learning from practicing professionals also gave her insight into what to expect as she pursues her goal of becoming a social worker in a school setting.
“The professors see clients all the time and they are able to offer real-life practical examples of how we can apply what we are learning in the classroom to what we want to do with our careers,” Bass stated.
Dr. Sheena Walker, assistant professor of psychology, will hold a special place in her heart. The impact she felt from Dr. Walker will continue to aid her on her professional journey.
UVI also provided a balance for Bass between academic pursuits and having a healthy social life. Her favorite memories of UVI involve making friends with other students she met through activities like choir and clubs and sharing enjoyable experiences.
“At UVI I had great opportunities to travel and meet and connect with people. The moments that I got to spend with them laughing, talking, and sharing were the best, honestly,” she noted.
One such highlight was an internship opportunity Bass participated in through The Washington Center’s Academic Internship Program, a holistic experience designed to help students gain the experience, skills and network they need to succeed while earning academic credit.
After completing the internship in the summer of 2022, Bass stated: “I’ve gotten to speak with people who currently hold positions that I’d like to hold in the future. They’ve given great insight on what education paths I should take to achieve my goals.”
Bass’s next goals include finding ways to fund her graduate school education.