Student Spotlight: Allen Rakotoniaina
Rising Junior and Kentucky native Allen Rakotoniaina was completely set on going to college out-of-state.
"My SOSer did such a great job during Orientation. It made me look forward to the next chapter in my life.”
When Allen made his campus visit to UofL, he had only lukewarm feelings, and had not made his mind up about which college to attend. His older sister already attended to UofL so he decided to give it a chance.
“UofL was my safety school… but [eventually] I decided to attend UofL because it offered the most scholarship money. It was also a bigger school than the others I was looking at, giving me the opportunity to meet new people.”
But once he attended freshman orientation, he was definitely excited about being a Louisville Cardinal.
“My SOSer did such a great job during Orientation. It made me look forward to the next chapter in my life.”
“The strong, positive feelings for UofL came during Welcome Week [UofL’s first week of classes, with special events and programs welcoming new students]. I realized how nice and welcoming people are [at UofL].”
Allen graduated from Owensboro Catholic High School, in his hometown of Owensboro, Ky. Louisville is only about two and a half hours from home, so he’s far enough away to have independence, but close enough to go visit when he wants. He is very involved on campus at UofL, and if a Public Health major with a minor in Political Science doesn’t keep Allen busy, then all of the different organizations that he works with sure do.
“The more involved you get at UofL, the better you will [enjoy] your time here. Your grades will be better.”
Find Allen around campus:
-Student Orientation Staff
-Sigma Chi Fraternity- Secretary
-RaiseRED Executive Board
Helping Hands Serving Hearts, a service organization, is something that Allen helped start with other UofL students.
“We go out to the elderly community and help them with daily activities to make their life more comfortable.”
Allen is particularly excited about RaiseRED, UofL’s dance marathon to raise money for the Pedatric Oncology unit at UofL Hospital for this upcoming year.
“Last year was a huge year. We raised over $150,000. We have a goal for this year of 1,000 dancers and $300k! It’s going to be fun because it has so much potential.”
Allen has big future plans as well. He wants to get a master’s degree in Public Health and is still on the fence about law school. As far as his career plans after college, Allen is aiming for the stars.
“For the longest time, I wanted to be a policy analyst for the FDA. I recently went to a conference for my fraternity in Utah. We went to Huntsman Cancer Institute, and I realized that I’m interested in hospital administration. I would be a cooler version of the character Lisa Cuddy [from House].”
In Allen’s spare time, he loves to take advantage of all of his favorite things around Louisville.
"Come in with an open mind. College is what you make of it, and UofL is a family.”
“I love the entertainment part of Louisville. There are so many free events like Waterfront Wednesday and concerts on Fourth Street Live! downtown. Things are super inexpensive, if not free, so you will always have something to do. Derby is a blast and I love Downs After Dark at Churchill Downs during the summer, too.”
Allen shares some advice for students potentially interested in UofL.
“Anybody that is looking at UofL, to transfer, or as a freshman, don’t count UofL out of your decision process if you’re an in-state student. Come in with an open mind. College is what you make of it, and UofL is a family.”