Photo of Holly Raesly

Holly Raesly '14: From Service to Scholarship

By Angela Grossmann-Roewe '98

There are two things Holly Raesly '14 gives her all to – her country, and her education. Her dedication to both make her a better person and the world around her an even better place to live.

A United States National Guard Senior Airman, Holly carries a full-time course load, works a part-time job, and diligently maintains physical fitness for her role in the 126th Medical Group Air National Guard at Scott Air Force Base.

Currently, working as a dental technician, this senior airman (E-4) is a traditional guardsman who serves one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer. She is trained to serve as a dental technician in the event her unit is involved in war. Although she has never fought in a war, Holly has traveled to Air Force training sites in Texas, California and Germany.

Holly joined the Air National Guard, four and a half years ago, to build on her character and expand her life experiences. “I also decided to join the military because my father retired active duty as did his father and several generations prior,” she said. “I respect my dad for his achievements and for serving our country and wanted to follow his example. But whether to attend college or not was never an option. It was something my parents expected from all their children.”

The psychology major and honors student is also committed to her studies. She maintains a strong GPA and balances 18 credit hours a semester, while at the same time maintaining her Guard commitment.

She was recognized at the University’s 2013 Leadership and Service Awards banquet as an outstanding leader to her country and community. On top of it all, she was among a group of nine students and two psychology professors who traveled to Windsor Castle, Sigmund Freud’s London home, the Cathedral of Notre Dame and the Louvre for a week as part of a McKendree study abroad course to London and Paris.

“This trip taught us to be less ethnocentric in our beliefs and understandings,” Holly said. “It was the opportunity of a lifetime, and I brought home new knowledge about art, history, architecture, and culture.”

After graduation, Holly plans to pursue a graduate degree in Occupational Therapy. Although she is unsure where her studies will lead her, whether in the National Guard or the civilian arena, her strong motivation to learn everything she can from all the facets in her life is how she will continue to make her mark wherever, and whenever, she is called to do so.

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