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King University News :: 2010 Winner Paula Compton Says College Dream Scholarship Changed my Life

BRISTOL, Tenn., January 26, 2015 – Paula Compton always intended to get her bachelor’s degree. Thanks to King University and 88.3 WCQR’s College Dream scholarship contest, she was able to return to school and make her dream come true.

Compton grew up in the small rural community of Clintwood, Va. Graduating as valedictorian of her high school class; she was the first in her family to attend college. She applied and was accepted to her first choice of then King College. “My life in the coal mining Appalachian Mountains had not prepared me well for life outside my rural community. I felt so out of my element at the time. I struggled through the first year. At that time I desperately needed a car, so I chose to leave King at the time and go to work to save for the car I needed. I was out for a full school year, and then enrolled at Southwest Virginia Community College, where I was able to obtain my Associate of Applied Science in Engineering Technology and Mechanical Design with a minor in Mine Engineering.

“I intended then to finish my bachelor’s, but I was offered a job and took it instead, with the intention I would go back to school at some point,” added Compton.

Throughout her career, Compton worked in a design and engineering capacity for numerous coal-related companies in the Southwest Virginia region. She discovered many of the coal companies were constantly changing hands. This eventually led to a layoff and a decision to attempt a career outside the coal industry. Compton became licensed to sell health and life insurance.

At the time the College Dream contest began in 2010, Compton was laid off from her job. When she heard about the opportunity to obtain the degree of which she had dreamed, she thought, “I have nothing to lose.” In the end, Compton was chosen as the winner of the contest and was on her way back to King University.

“I was so thrilled. When I was told I was a finalist, I thought I would hyperventilate I was so excited. I just couldn’t hold back the tears,” said Compton. “When I won, it was truly a dream come true. I was finally going to be able to complete an unfinished life chapter that continually haunted me. I had completed an associate degree, but it wasn’t enough. I felt like a quitter. I wanted to earn the bachelor’s degree I had set as a goal early in life, and I wanted to do it at King.”

Since completing her Bachelor of Business Administration degree through King’s College Dream contest, Compton has changed careers. “I love my job! I went from a career in sales, back to a career in engineering. The difference is I now am on a path to engineering management. I work with the current director of operations for my company, and because of my BBA with a focus on operations management, I know that as the economy recovers, and business picks up, I have additional career paths to explore.”

After having her own dreams come true, Compton encourages others thinking of going back to school to go for it. “Get focused; get organized; do it! You have nothing to lose, and a lot of self-esteem and open career doors to gain.”

Compton currently serves as the product engineer for Titan Wheel Corporation of Virginia. She plans to return to King in the future to obtain her MBA.


King University is a Presbyterian-affiliated, doctoral-level comprehensive university. Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities. Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing. A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available. King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity sports. For more information about King University, visit King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability. King University is certified by SCHEV to operate locations in Virginia. For more information, contact the King University office at Southwest Virginia Community College, 309 College Road, Richlands, VA 24641.