Monroe is a senior at Goochland High School and will be attending Texas A&M University.
Q: Is there someone in your life that has inspired you to achieve your goals?
I am extremely blessed to have an amazing support system. My parents, boyfriend, and family have continually helped me find solutions to life’s challenges and achieve all of my crazy goals. When I received a traumatic brain injury, my support system never let me lose sight of those goals.
Q: What are you passionate about? What do you do in your free time?
I am passionate about my faith and conservative values, but I am always interested in others’ perspectives and respectful open dialogue. In my free time, I enjoy socializing (how is senior year flying by so fast?), pageants, and honestly, sleeping.
Q: How has the last year reshaped or reaffirmed your views on your future?
I’m so grateful to attend school in-person this year. I treasure the connection with students and teachers. The pandemic has only enhanced my appreciation for the role models and mentors at my school that have shaped my life, always challenging, supporting, teaching, and cheering for me.
Q: Have you decided on a major? If so, do you have any specific career plans?
I am enrolled as a Society, Ethics and Law major on the pre-law track. This spring, I was fortunate enough to intern with Mr. Michael Caudill, the Goochland Commonwealth’s Attorney, and it changed the trajectory of my life. I aspire to be a federal prosecutor and eventually, to sit on the bench.
Q: What advice would you give younger students facing similar challenges as you?
My advice to all teens is to keep social media in perspective. Your likes, views, and followers do not determine your worth. My advice to those who suffer from traumatic brain injuries or other traumatic events is to be kind to yourself. Accept that you may be different than who you were before and be open to the idea that some of these differences may be opportunities you had never considered.
Q: What do you consider your strongest character trait?
My strongest characteristics are that I am an open book and advocate. I have struggled with depression, anxiety, and an eating disorder. I am proud of my work with the Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation, which helps erase the stigma of mental illness and allows me to support others.
Q: Do you feel that overcoming an obstacle, like you have, has changed you? What lessons have you learned along the way?
For me, the fact that my injury is unseen presents the biggest obstacle, and I have learned patience with those who make assumptions about it. I wrote a book called “When Your Cat Gets a Concussion“ to help illuminate the experience. I am now working to secure grant funding to make my book accessible to family members of impacted service members.