Graves County teen Parker Thompson grew up on a crop farm and sees a potential career in genetically modified seeds and crops to help it better withstand disease, weeds, drought and pests.
"My dad farms, so I kind of wanted to stay in that field, but I wanted to do development," Thompson said. "I just found that very interesting." He's interested in a career for pharmaceutical drug research and development too. "The chemistry behind that - I think that's so cool," Thompson said. "It's just like how a compound can bond with something else and it just makes a whole new thing and how it affects the body. That's really crazy."
The 18-year-old Graves County High School senior attended the Governor's Scholar Program last summer at Morehead State University, where he studied agriculture. He plans to major in agriculture and medical biotechnology at the University of Kentucky this fall.
"We talked a lot about GMOs (genetically modified organisms), so I'm going into like pharmaceutical development and seed development with genetics," he said, about GSP. "It's more genetic engineering." His family grows different crops, such as corn, beans and tobacco, Thompson said. He views farming as some of the most important work since "everybody has to eat," and wants to give back to the community.
Thompson, son of Mark and Mandy Thompson of Graves County, is the Paducah Bank Teen of the Week.
Every Monday and Tuesday, The Sun profiles area high school students chosen from a pool of nominees for Teen of the Week consideration. Around the end of the school year, a selection committee will choose one of these students for Teen of the Year, which carries a $5,000 scholarship. Another student will receive an Inspiration Award and a $1,000 scholarship.
Thompson ranks among the top of his class at Graves County with a 4.0 cumulative unweighted GPA. He earned a 32 composite ACT score and has taken dual credit courses through West Kentucky Community and Technical College. Thompson played four years of varsity football for the Graves County Eagles, which he credits for helping teach him dedication and perseverance. His other extracurricular activities include DECA, Pep Club, Beta Club, Future Business Leaders of America and the Mayfield-Graves County Youth Leadership program.
Thompson hangs out with friends and practices photography in his spare time, particularly with people as his subject matter. "I just like taking a picture and making it creative because I'll edit it and it'll end up looking really good," Thompson said.
He also attends St. Jerome Catholic Church in Fancy Farm, where he's involved with the St. Jerome Youth Council. He helps out with church events like Vacation Bible School and serves as an Eucharistic minister.
May graduation is right around the corner for Thompson, who is already looking forward to attending college at UK. He explained that dual credit courses at WKCTC taught him that he likes college classes more. "Senior year is going good," Thompson said. "It's flying by. It's kind of sad to know we've only got three months left."
By: Kelly Farrell