Stories of Excellence–Kantrell Knox

Kantrell Knox knows excellence can be found in the support received on the path to educational and career goals. Not only has she received support during her time at Mitchell, but she has given support to others and has been honored for her determined, positive spirit. Kantrell Knox knows excellence.


Knox choose to attend Mitchell in 2015 for many reasons. Her mother graduated from Mitchell in 2007, it is the “local option” and, as a small school, it allowed for one-on-one contact with instructors, advisors and staff. “I feel like the smaller the better for me,” Knox noted “I enjoy the fact that the instructors are highly involved in student success.”


Knox said the faculty’s commitment to student success is extraordinary. “I have witnessed instructors go above and beyond to ensure that students are successful in courses,” she noted. “Mary Ann Earwood was my mentor for the past two years and has been instrumental in my success as a student.” From the very first conversation, Knox noted, the two connected. “She understood me,” Knox said, “She understood my situation and my story. Even parts she didn’t understand, she wanted to know more.” Earwood, now retired, would help proof-read Knox’s papers and even provided her with a wireless hot spot whenever Knox had no Internet service. This gesture brought to light the fact that many mentees similarly struggled with internet access off campus and prompted changes to the mentoring program. Earwood nominated Knox for the Viola Parker Diversity Award which she received in April 2017. “It was very fulfilling to know that people see that I want to do good and that I want to have a positive impact on the people around me,” Knox said.


The classroom is not the only place students receive support at Mitchell according to Knox. Mitchell’s Mind Center provides support and opportunities to help students progress in their studies and achieve their goals. Knox began working in the Mind Center as a work-study assignment, finding she truly has a passion for the work of the Mind Center and staff. “It’s really an enlightening thing to see students who come in originally at the beginning of the semester who are struggling, and then in the last few weeks before exams they’re saying ‘I’m going into it confident, I know I’m going to do well because my tutor helped me or the Mind Center provided resources to assist me in improving my grades or keeping my grades at a level they like.’”


A previous personal experience with respiratory therapy led Knox to her career path. Once she finishes her Fall 2017 semester at Mitchell, she plans to continue her studies in Respiratory Therapy at Catawba Valley Community College. As for advice she would give to someone thinking about starting or continuing their studies, “Just get started,” she says. “Start somewhere. Whether you’ve been out of school 5 years, 10 years, 2 months, just get started.” Knox noted it was difficult for her to start back after ten years but all the resources Mitchell provides helped make it easier.


As a bilateral above knee amputee, Knox hopes people will be inspired by her story. “I am very determined and I feel like life in general has meaning. I want my life to mean something. I want people in the community to know that regardless of your circumstances, your dreams and goals can be achieved with preparation, determination and a great support system.” And Mitchell’s support system, she believes, is the greatest. Start your educational journey at Mitchell! Explore degrees and programs Mitchell offers then find out how to apply. For additional support, speak to a counselor at (704) 878-3242 or