Kayla Patterson is a current student in the second-year cohort of the Higher Education Student Affairs program at Western Carolina University. She has a graduate assistantship in the Department of Residential Living. She was recently awarded the Future Scholar Award from The Academy of Leisure Sciences. This prestigious program supports potential Ph.D. students in the field of Leisure Studies through mentorship and action. Those designated as Future Scholars have gone on to have significant impacts on the cultural context of leisure.
Her nominators, Dr. Corey W. Johnson (Karla A. Henderson Distinguished Professor at North Carolina State University) and Dr. Needham Yancey Gulley (Program Director, HESA at Western Carolina University) celebrated Kayla, saying: "On top of her excellent academic achievements, she has a curiosity about the world and a passion for helping people. She is driven by purpose and brings her own identities (both individual and intersectional) to the work she does, providing a unique perspective that is greatly lacking in the field. Folx have paved the way for Kayla, as a Black woman, to thrive in this space and for her ideas and interests to be nurtured. We know that in future years the field and world will be better for the work that she will undertake as a human and as an academic."
As part of this honor, Kayla attended the annual conference of the Academy of Leisure Sciences in New Orleans, LA.
She was mentored by some of the best scholars in the field and connected with students and academics from across North America (and some beyond). She was recognized during a luncheon for The Academy of Leisure Sciences Fellows (distinguished faculty of honor) and then presented with her award at the conferences culminating celebration.