Kent State's Rural Scholars Program, Mentoring Future Leaders Today!Posted Apr. 3, 2012
Kent State University at Salem and Kent State University at East Liverpool have combined efforts to pilot a new college access program. The Rural Scholars Program is designed to give first generation college students and their families’ knowledge, academic exposure, and social support they will need in order to be successful at a world-ranked university. Rural Scholars will complete post-secondary education with the credentials necessary to succeed for the remainder of their college career and beyond. The campuses are pleased to announce that the program is beginning the program’s mentor selection process.
The program's values, rooted in an appreciation for place, culture, and local history will bring together university resources with community assets to produce innovative curriculum and dynamic service experiences for students along the K-16 continuum.
As students succeed, they will have structured opportunities to reinvest their own energies and talents back into the community. Students who complete the high school portion of the program will be eligible to apply for a Rural Scholars Scholarship at Kent State's Salem and East Liverpool campuses, serving as mentors for the students following in their footsteps. Program coordinator Wendy Pfrenger believes the most rewarding part of teaching college freshmen for the past eleven years has been watching the world expand for students over the course of a semester. “Helping them realize just how much they're capable of doing is exhilarating,” Pfrenger said. “I'm so excited about the Rural Scholars Program because I believe it will make that experience possible for many more students in the county.”The Rural Scholars Program is off to a great start for the spring pilot with the recruitment of three outstanding undergraduate mentors to work with sixth graders in Crestview and Southern Local school districts. Each of these mentors is a first generation college student who grew up in Columbiana County, just like the younger students with whom they'll be working.
The mentors will receive training that will serve as the foundation for their work with groups of sixth graders and, later, with the first cohort of seventh graders admitted to the Rural Scholars Program for the 2012-2013 school year. In addition to their work offering interactive financial literacy programming for the sixth graders, the mentors will develop small grants to support additional programming, contribute to the seventh grade summer camp curriculum, and volunteer as literacy mentors for middle schoolers at Southern Local. Mentors are selected on the basis of residence in Columbiana County, strong academic performance, and their leadership potential.