Rogers Explorers graduate Jaiden Greene of Johnson County discovered a new interest and possible new career path at Asbury University.

“My favorite activity, as a Rogers Explorer, was where we produced our own news segment,” said Jaiden, an incoming high school freshman at The Piarist School. “It gave the entire group a chance to see what happens during and behind the scenes of an actual news broadcast.”

Twenty-nine students from 15 Southern and Eastern Kentucky counties completed and graduated from the first class of Rogers Explorers on Tuesday, June 7, on the campus of Asbury University in Wilmore.

During the summer youth leadership program, students explored their interests in math, science, and technology and learned valuable leadership and entrepreneurial skills.

“This program has changed my life,” said Rogers Explorers graduate Kennedy Bruner, who will be a freshman next fall at Garrard County High School. “The videoconference with NASA was terrific, and the community service project really showed us the value of hard work.”

Rogers Explorers graduate Jaxson Ratliff of Johnson County enjoyed the computer science activity at Asbury University so much he is thinking about changing his college major.

“The coding class opened my eyes to a new career path that I had not explored before,” said Jaxson, 14, a middle school graduate and incoming high school freshman.

Another “favorite” activity among Rogers Explorers was the team-building and leadership exercises.

“We had to overcome different obstacles and use our skills to work together as a team,” said Rogers Explorers graduate Heaven Cooper, 14, of Green County.

“Rogers Explorers has been a fantastic experience,” added 15-year-old Grant Oakes of Pulaski County. “This program gave me the opportunity to meet new people and gain hands-on experience in math, science, and technology.”

The Rogers Explorers program is presented by The Center for Rural Development in partnership with Asbury University, Lindsey Wilson College, University of the Cumberlands, Eastern Kentucky University, Morehead State University, and University of Pikeville.

First Class of 2016 Rogers Explorers at Asbury University

Maggie Young: Adair County
Meredith Addington: Boyd County
Kaylan Brewer: Breathitt County
Delaney Sowders: Casey County
Miriam “Mimi” Richardson: Estill County
Kennedy Bruner, Dylan Driskell, Madeline “Maddie” Jordan, and Emma Warren: Garrard County
Heaven Cooper and Abigail “Abby” Knoy: Green County
Caleb Ashley: Harlan County
Abigail “Abbey” Estep, Jaiden Greene, and Jaxson Ratliff: Johnson County
Sarah Lycans: Lawrence County
Jessilyn Ramey: Pike County
Andrew Childers, Luke Jacobs, Grant Oakes, Aryan Patel, Jackson Prather, Haylee Ridner, Kolby Treado, Braxton Hewitt, and Maxwell “Max” Brainard: Pulaski County
Sydney Graham: Rowan County
Andrew Melton: Taylor County
Aubry Holt: Wayne County