Written by Jessica Jeter
Photographed by Blair Bellaire
On the little black couches in the lobby of Watkins Teaching Center, I have the pleasure of speaking with Alli Kennedy, a junior Communication major. You cannot miss her bouncing red curls, bright-eyed smile, and hands wrapped around a local coffee. She tells me she loves “the color green to a fault” and escaping to the mountains each weekend. She stands by her enneagram personality test results, proudly four, wing three – artistic, nostalgic, and authentic. But Alli explains to me that her great passion for writing is most important.
From the time she could hold a pen, Alli was scribbling lines and making up words for her next best story. Growing up in Florida, she found her home “a nice breeding ground for imagination.” Adventure was always lying in wait just beyond her door. She laughs as she tells me about the afternoons she would chase the lizards in her yard, with the hopes of catching at least one to bring inside and let run around her dollhouse, giving it a home of its own. Alli treasures all of the childhood memories that helped her to create stories of pure imagination, uninterrupted by reality.
Her first college writing class was Creative Nonfiction with Dr. Teresa Jones. The class rekindled Alli’s fire for writing: “I came into class knowing I loved to tell stories, and I came out knowing how to tell those stories well.” A primary source of inspiration for her stories comes from her travels. Since her senior year of high school, Alli has adventured to a new country each year, opening her eyes to the lives beyond her own.
Mission trips to destinations such as East Asia and Africa have allowed her to combine her passions: adventure, writing, and photography. She beams as she tells me she will be spending this summer in Uganda, with Benjamin House Ministries. She will tell the stories of the lives of children in the sponsorship program through photography, videography, social media, and writing. But this is more than just a job for Alli. It is an honor, a way of serving God and serving others.
Upon graduation, Alli hopes to work as a photojournalist for international ministries and as a destination-wedding and elopement photographer. One of her dreams is to continue this work as a photojournalist for international ministries. But another dream consists of being a destination wedding and elopement photographer. “I love capturing these intimate moments in the lives of others,” she tells me. “I’m happy these couples invite me in to do it.” In meeting new people and exploring different cultures, Alli hopes to produce the stories of her life’s journeys, while incorporating her faith into the work she loves. I have enjoyed my short amount of time spent with her on these little black couches. Alli’s passion for missions, creativity, and life’s adventures is contagious.