July 12, 2019


2019 Holcomb Scholarship Awarded to Alexis Kelly

Alexis Kelly, daughter of Chris Kelly, Vice President of Product Management, is the 2019 Jeffrey S. Holcomb Scholarship recipient. The Board of Directors established the Jeffrey S. Holcomb Scholarship to honor and remember the leadership and service given to American Woodmark by Jeffrey S. Holcomb. Holcomb was a former founder, director and vice president of finance and a true professional committed to excellence. The scholarship is awarded once a year to the child of an employee, hand-selected each year by an independent outside advisory committee.

Kelly plans to study neuroscience and behavior at the University of Notre Dame in the hopes of being a neurologist and neuroscience researcher.

Her passion stems from personal experience as two of her cousins suffer from neurologic disorders—one has epilepsy and the other a severe non-verbal form of autism. “I’ve seen them suffer with many roadblocks and challenges as a result of these disorders,” said Kelly. “However, while watching them grow up, I’ve also seen the immense potential they have independent of these challenges. They are incredibly bright and caring individuals.”

If I only accomplish one thing in my life, I hope that it is making a difference in the lives of my cousins.

“My ultimate goal in life is to be able to help my cousins showcase their talents and intelligence to the world. I want them, and millions of others like them, to be seen for so much more than their neurological illnesses. As a result of this, my purpose in going to college is to gain an education that will allow me to treat and research disorders like autism and epilepsy in the future. I hope to be at the vanguard of the growing interest in researching the biological basis for these diseases. And if I only accomplish one thing in my life, I hope that it is making a difference in the lives of my cousins. I firmly believe that the journey to achieve this goal will begin in college next year.”

Kelly was the founder and leader for three organizations: the March of Dimes Service Learning Group, Doctors of Tomorrow Club and E-Buddies Club. She also participated in the El Sol Academy Service Learning, Model United Nations, junior varsity soccer and varsity lacrosse.

Outside of school, she was a research intern at the Microvascular Therapeutics and Imaging Laboratory at the University of California, Irvine; social chair and recording secretary for the Assistance League of Newport Mesa; a research assistant for the Cancer and Genetics Laboratory at the University of California, Irvine Chao Family Cancer Center; a tutor for Kumon After School Math and Reading; a speaker, advocate and participant in Newport Beach-Okazaki exchange for the Sister City Association of Southern California; and alter server and Adventure Bible Camp instructor at Our Lady Queen of Angels Church.

Kelly received the AP Scholar with Honors award from the College Board for excellence in the Advanced Placement curriculum and earned the status of commended student in the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Competition. Through participation in her school's Model United Nations Club, Kelly earned commendations at several Model United Nations conferences throughout California; received the Shooting Star Award for her community service work through the Assistance League of Newport Mesa; and was awarded a Certificate of Merit from the Music Teachers’ Association of Southern California for her accomplishments playing the piano. Her research in the field of vascular cutaneous lesions was recognized by the American Society of Laser Medicine and Surgery at its annual conference in 2019. Her research group was asked to present at the conference based on the abstract they submitted for a recent experiment.

Kelly said, “The activity I found most rewarding has been my work in a biomedical engineering laboratory at the University of California, Irvine. My experience in this lab has showed me that I can apply my interest and passion for scientific research in a way that can have a positive impact on other peoples’ lives.”