A brother and sister with autism steered Dolton, Ill. teen Kenye` Askew toward a career in medicine.
“My siblings, Kenyora and Kayin, have deeply inspired me to do a pre-medicine (college) track because they are autistic,” Askew said.
A recent graduate of Illiana Christian High School in Lansing, Ill., Askew plans to study romance languages with a pre-medicine concentration at Boston College.
“I see myself as a neurosurgeon, and traveling to other countries to volunteer for Doctors Without Borders,” she said.
The daughter of Laura and Kenny Askew, the honor student thrived at Illiana Christian, maintaining a 3.76 grade point average.
“Illiana is different because I do not view my classmates as classmates, because I see them as family. We are close and really care about what goes on in each other’s lives,” she said.
In addition to the speech and debate club and the Christian Service Club, Askew was heavily involved in the drama department. “I got involved my freshman year for the spring musical, and I have been in it for the last four years.
“I love acting because it gives me the chance to see life through another person’s eyes. I become a character, and I feel their happiness or pain, and acting gives me the chance to tell their story.”
Askew acted in the school’s productions of "Oliver!," "Charlotte’s Web," "The Hiding Place" and "The Matchmaker," where she had the lead role.
She has also directed two plays, "Beauty and the Beast" and "Annie," as a student. “I wanted to experience all the components that make a production amazing,” she said.
“Since I have performed on stage and did set painting, I wanted to do student directing so I could better appreciate the work of our directors.”
Askew is now employed with the Children’s Center Outreach in Chicago and volunteers with The Ronald McDonald House and Feed My Starving Children.
In her free time, she enjoys horror movies, writing poetry and Japanese anime music.