Student Highlight

Higher education student, Joseph “Laken” Horton, pledges to give graduate students a voice by forming a graduate student association.


As I write this reflection, with the holiday spirit lingering in every word I cannot be more grateful for all I have experienced, both at University of Redlands and with life in general. Sometimes I find it hard even to believe how far my life has come.

I started out my higher education journey in fall of 2016 at New York University. However, I left the university to find the deeper meaning of what I thought life was supposed to be, which brought me to University of Redlands. I am a first-generation college student coming from a very rural town in East Tennessee. Now, I am living a life I could have never imagined by pursing a master’s degree at my dream university.


University of Redlands has become a beacon of light for me in my journey of higher education. I have a burning desire to contribute to the program in whatever capacity I can.

I want to give, not only to the program, but to the students as well. This semester, I set my goals on creating a voice for the students in graduate programs across the Redlands campuses. This voice begins with a Graduate Student Association. The association will allow for graduate students to communicate their issues to leadership, allow for input into student government, and give opportunities to address policies that affect us.

The season of giving is in the air at this time of year. I want to encourage students to ask themselves - are you willing to give of yourself for the good of the institution? When I graduate in May of 2019, and become an official alum of University of Redlands, I want to ensure that students know they have autonomy over their educational experiences and they have agency to make changes in their lives. If I can accomplish the formation of the Graduate Student Association, I believe we can have hope in a better tomorrow for all students.