Paisley Holbrook ’27 (Ashville, Ohio) comes across as your typical, mild-mannered new student. But the Marietta College freshman has a fierce competitive streak, as evidenced by her performance at the College's Premier Scholarship competition in January.
Vying for some of the College’s most prestigious awards, Paisley showcased her vibrant and determined spirit during the interview process to distinguish herself from the other accomplished applicants.
“Going into the competition, I was hopeful of my chances of earning a bigger scholarship,” said Paisley, who graduated from Teays Valley High School in May. “I am an outgoing person and felt prepared. Then I walked in and saw all the people there. I wasn’t expecting that many people.”
With 135 high school students competing, Paisley found a way to stand out and she received the Virginia McCoy Scholarship.
“I remember hearing from other students who attended the competition that they were notified about any additional scholarship money, and I still had not heard anything,” she said. “I couldn’t decide if this was good or bad.”
Then she noticed a call from Marietta College, and it was from Bill Ruud, who was the president from 2016-23. He shared the good news.
“I cried,” Paisley said. “At first, I was stunned and then I got very emotional. I knew I loved Marietta College, but I wasn’t 100% sure. Now that I am here, I am positive Marietta was the right choice for me.”
Paisley is the second recipient of the scholarship, which was established in 2019 by Virginia “Jinny” McCoy. It provides tuition, fees, and room and board to one student every four years — and it is renewable for up to four years for each recipient.
In 2019, Virginia “Jinny” McCoy established a four-year renewable scholarship at Marietta College for one talented student every four years. Paisley will benefit from the scholarship’s immense value for the duration of her studies at Marietta, should she maintain eligibility.
“It is such a generous thing for her to do,” Paisley said. “It kind of feels like I have someone with their hand on my shoulder as I go through college. Her generosity is helping make my Marietta experience even better and it is opening more opportunities for me.”
Paisley’s mother, Jennifer Holbrook, recalls fondly when her daughter sprinted from her room to share the good news.
“She was concerned about being two hours from home, but her father (David) and I encouraged her to look at college as a time to branch out and explore,” Jennifer said. “The scholarship was a huge relief. She has always put in the time in school and stayed focused her senior year and applied for multiple scholarships. So, we are proud that her hard work was rewarded.”
Jennifer said Paisley toured several colleges — both big and small. But after a visit during her junior year of high school, Marietta jumped to the top of her list.
“She was always looking for a place that felt like home,” Jennifer said. “After about an hour at Marietta, she turned and said, ‘I love this place. This is a real contender for my top choice.’ Then on the way home she kept talking about everything she loved at Marietta.”
Paisley has already made strides toward her goal of becoming a Physician Assistant since starting at Marietta College this fall. The freshman is pursuing a major in Health Science and intends to enroll in a PA master’s program after obtaining her bachelor's degree. Last week, her classmates selected her to represent the freshman class in the Student Government Association.
Her time on campus has also been enriched by the McDonough Leadership Program.
She said she has gained valuable perspective since joining the program, even in just her first few months as a student. Paisley is enjoying a course taught by Professor Ni Zhang, where, with her classmates, they are preparing for the annual Make a Difference Day coming up on Sunday, October 29.
“I love the Leadership Program,” she said. “Maybe it’s because I have known everyone in that program longer since we got here early for EXCEL. I know in my other classes, I am learning important concepts and theories, but Leadership is also helping to build my character. It’s helping me be a better listener. I am also more confident to take the initiative when others put something aside.”
A former high school volleyball player, Paisley is looking forward to intramurals and excelling in the classroom. She has also joined Women in STEM and is volunteering in Marietta Memorial Hospital’s Emergency Room.
“I’m definitely a school person. My favorite spot is the library because it’s very cozy in there. I find joy in doing well in school,” she said. “It took me some time to adjust to being away from home, but I love it here. I feel like I am very connected with my roommate and other students. I also love the class sizes — it’s a great setting for asking questions and learning.”