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Ana Valente
Sao Paulo Brazil is a mega-metropolis that has more cars than Rio de Janeiro has people. It is a unique city that no matter how hard you look you probably won’t see a billboard…anywhere. This is because in 2006 the city outlawed “visual pollution.” It can also be argued that it is the pizza capital of the world with over 1 million pizzas consumed daily. And it was in Sao Paulo where Ana Valente first saw the light of day. But she was around a year old when her parents decided to relocate to Bristol, Tennessee.
Ana’s parents were returning to Northeast Tennessee from Brazil where they both were originally from. Both of her parents grew up in slums in Northeast Brazil. Both had been taken under the wing of a missionary named Charles Alexander who helped them escape their lives of poverty and enroll at King. And it was at King where Ana’s parents met and fell in love. They would both graduate and temporarily return to Brazil where they got married and gave birth to Ana.
At a year-old Ana began her life in Bristol and enjoyed a wonderful upbringing in a loving and supportive home. Her father was the soccer coach at Tennessee High School. When Ana was of age she too attended Tennessee High and played on the soccer team where she excelled. But along with soccer she was also an exceptional student and decided to pursue Pre-Med with a major in Cell and Molecular Biology, though her favorite class was Dr. Pickard’s organic chemistry. “I really loved it!” She said. “Dr. Pickard’s organic chemistry was my favorite class that I ever took.”
For Ana science just made sense. When she wasn’t studying or playing soccer, she worked in a neurotoxicology lab. “I loved working in the lab.” Her positivity and high energy helped her be proficient at everything she touched. Ana graduated from King and enrolled at the University of Tennessee for Medical School. “I loved Med School too,” Ana said with a smile. And it was in class at medical school that she met her future husband. Together they plunged into the world of medicine, supporting each other, both moving forward toward their dreams. They would graduate and get residency positions in New Orleans, together. Everything was working out. The hard work, the dedication, the belief in God’s guidance were paying forward.
Ana became an OBGYN and delivered many babies. She loved this work and found it to be very rewarding but there is a specialized field where she felt she could make the greatest impact, oncology. She wants to study and help women who are suffering from gynecological cancer. This pursuit requires specialized training and there aren’t very many programs that offer it and only about 58 openings per year nationwide. Ana was admitted into the program through the University of Oklahoma where she is currently studying. It has been a long road but a very rewarding one. “A lot of my success I owe to that great foundation I received at King,” Ana says. “My undergraduate education was so strong. I was very prepared for this difficult and competitive field,” Ana says.
She is nearly finished with her studies and looking forward to a career in service. And it is her work ethic, perseverance, strong Christian faith, and dedication to service that encompasses everything that it means to be a King graduate. King is so proud of all of her accomplishments and knows that each of her patients someday will be getting cared for by the best.
Kenneth McVey
Kenneth was born and raised in Richlands, Southwest Virginia. It is a small rural town situated along the Clinch River that became prosperous in the late 1800s because of the coal mining, ironworks plants, and timber business. Local officials even started calling it the “Pittsburgh of the South” until the 1893 stock market crash decimated the economy of the region. Kenneth liked the small-town life and dreamt of one day becoming a doctor for the good and hardworking people of Southwest Virginia.
By the time Kenneth reached high school, he was adamant about pursuing a career in medicine. “I knew then that I wanted to go into the medical field,” he said. Growing up, his aunt and uncle, Will and Rachel McVey had both attended King. During family gatherings, they would talk about the school, and it planted the seed in Kenneth’s mind. When it was time to apply for college King was on Kenneth’s list. “My first trip to the school was when I came to tour the campus. I really liked the beauty of the campus. I liked the size of the school, but it was the people that made me want to go. Everybody was so nice and welcoming, and I was impressed by how motivated they were to help everyone succeed,” Kenneth said.
“Another big factor for me choosing King was the high quality of the science program,” Kenneth said. Numerous students that have pursued medicine have commented on the excellent education they received at King. The science programs are challenging and prepare undergraduates for medical school. Many say that medical school doesn’t seem as tough as it might have had they had gone to another school with less difficult classes. Kenneth majored in Neuroscience. “There were two professors that I had where Neuroscience was their area of expertise. When I knew that major was an option, I decided to pursue it. I was previously exposed to that field in anatomy and found that I really enjoyed it, and I wanted to do something that I knew I would enjoy,” Kenneth said.
As a student at King, he lived on campus for three years. “It was a really good way to make friends. It was a good way to start my college career,” he said.
After graduating, Kenneth was accepted into the Liberty University School of Medicine and today is a practicing family physician. “What I like best about the medical field are the patients and forming long-term relationships with them. I like being able to care for them over their entire lives,” Kenneth said. Looking back on his experience at King. “King to me is a family environment that truly cares about the student and cares about their future.”

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Are you a new student?

Here are a few can’t-miss activities.

  • Launch: New Student Orientation
    Meet your launch group and fellow students.
  • Experience DC – Washington DC Trip
    In September, enjoy a freshmen class trip to Washington D.C.
  • Family Weekend
    Each Fall, family, friends, and alumni gather on campus to celebrate Family Weekend at King University.
  • Coats for Kids
    Each October you can volunteer to be a part of King’s big Fall service projects that helps to provide coats to children in the Bristol community.
  • Late Night Exam Breakfast
    In Dec, you don’t want to miss this event that features breakfast, served by faculty and staff, with lots of giveaways and a Secret Santa.
  • Solid Blue
    Put on your best blue and support King Athletics during this annual event.
  • Spirit Week during Dogwood
    Each Spring, the week leading up to Dogwood weekend is called Spirit Week and filled with fun events. Dogwood weekend is when alumni return to campus for reunions. The Spring formal, Dogwood Ball, is also held this weekend.
  • Graduation
    Attend graduation in the Fall and Spring to cheer on your classmates as they walk across the stage.