Kryshon Bratton

Bratton encourages others to look for unconventional opportunities to give back to their community

brown concrete dome building under white clouds during daytime

Kryshon Bratton staunchly believes in seizing opportunities, even if it means taking a risk. For Bratton, this guiding principle has applied to every endeavor she's taken on. Whether that is starting her own hardscape installation business, Piper Whitney Construction, eight years ago or creating a scholarship for the University of Houston this year.

When she was sent a list of class scholarships, she immediately spotted an opportunity that she had to jump on. There were no scholarships specifically for returning or part-time students. She reached out to University Advancement and asked why there weren't any scholarships for this portion of the student body and then offered to meet this need herself.

"The hustle is the same. These students deserve to be recognized. They deserve to be celebrated; they deserve to be acknowledged in their journey. They are no less of a student because they are here for two classes instead of four," Bratton said.

She understands the experience of being a part-time student firsthand as she has returned to study at UH while running her business. She describes herself as a "Houston girl, born and raised" and as having been at UH "many different times, in many different forms" over the years. Now, she's proud to be a student donor.

She encourages other people to open themselves up to opportunities to give back to their community:

"Everybody has the same opportunity to be a helping hand," Bratton said.

She has ideas for how anyone can help UH. If you can't donate money, she suggests donating time in the form of mentoring or speaking to students and sharing expertise. She asserts that no effort is wasted because every incremental step can lead to a big change and impact.

As an example of this, she cites how a friend approached her to let her know that they were inspired by Bratton's return to the classroom and decided to go back to school themselves. This feedback has been extremely valuable because she initially considered waiting to finish her studies until all her children were out of her home. Now, she sees that by going for it and sharing her experience with others, she "lit a spark."

"If you see a risk worth taking, take it," she said. "You will be better for it. You will be more fulfilled. You will grow, which is ultimately what you're wanting to do."