Lexi Raikes ’22
Class of 2022
Political Science, English and French major
Lexi Raikes embodied the Cardinal spirit since the moment she set foot on campus. Using her resiliency and grit, she achieved extraordinary academic accomplishments and set a standard for student success – for herself and for those who follow after.
As a first generation college student from Campbellsville, Kentucky, Raikes wasn’t always sure college was in her future. But at UofL, she found a place that helped shape her into a leader, a public servant and an example for high school seniors in her hometown.
“UofL stuck out to me because it did seem like the place where I would grow the most,” she said.
When Raikes came to college, she was still exploring what career path she was interested in. She threw herself into UofL, taking advantage of its academic programs, student activities and more. She graduated in May 2022 with a triple major in English, French and political science.
“I was super eager to become involved in mentored scholarship opportunities here, because I felt those were the main things that allowed me to overcome the first generation college student barrier,” she said. [Mentored scholarships] immediately give you this community that cares about you and wants to ensure you meet your goals.”
UofL’s mentored scholarships offer financial assistance and enrichment programming to help students expand their academic experience through research, civic engagement, leadership and service. Raikes’ selection to the Brown Fellows Program led her to even loftier ideals.
Raikes was Kentucky’s only recipient of the 2021 Harry S. Truman Scholarship, the leading graduate scholarship for those wanting a career in public service. Since the launch of the scholarship in 1977, only 14 UofL students have received the honor. In 2021, Raikes was selected as one of 62 recipients out of 845 applicants from 328 colleges and universities.
For any student this scholarship is life changing, but for Raikes, well, it was about more than just her life.
“The main thing I loved is that it made my family feel very proud,” said Raikes. “To feel my hometown rally behind me as well, that was the best part of the experience.”
In smaller towns, sometimes such prestigious scholarship opportunities are not always top of mind and finding academic opportunities that alleviate financial worries are harder to come by, Raikes said. Earning the Truman scholarship and joining the Brown Fellows helped her become a role model for students in Campbellsville while expanding her future opportunities.
Her post-graduation plans are to complete a French language immersion program and then use the Truman scholarship to attend graduate school to study international substance abuse policy. It’s an emerging field, but Raikes has learned during her undergraduate career how to take on any challenge given to her.
“Receiving the Truman Scholarship felt like a confirmation of all my hard work in my time here at UofL,” she said. “It has given me a sense of confidence in my ability to lead and shape the world into a better place.”