Skip to content

Being a Part of the Kearns Family

The University of Rochester offers many programs to help students of all types. One specific program that has been vital during my time at the University of Rochester is the Kearns Center Undergraduate Program. The Kearns Undergraduate Program encompasses many programs including those specific to first-generation, minority, and low-income students. However, the Kearns Center also offers programs such as the Ronald E. McNair Program (for those interested in obtaining a PhD), Xerox Engineering Research Fellows Program (for students who want to have a research experience with the Hajim School), and the Kearns Center Scholars Program (an additional support system for students).

First Generation Welcome Celebration
My specific experience with the Kearns Center began when I was first invited to the First Generation Welcome Celebration a week after Orientation. The first moment I walked into the Kearns Center, I knew that I found an organization with a strong passion for supporting students. My experience actually began earlier when I received several emails from the Kearns Center weeks before move-in day, inviting me to a welcome lunch and celebration. Looking back, I am extremely glad for those emails because I had major doubts about my decision to come to Rochester because I didn’t know what to expect. However, those emails made me already feel like part of a bigger community.

Conference Room at the Kearns Center
Conference Room at the Kearns Center


At the welcome celebration, I first met Michael Droel, who is a project assistant at the Kearns Center. Although I doubt he remembers saying this, his first comment to me was, “Welcome to the Kearns Family.” It was such a memorable moment for me and took away a lot of the fears about not finding a supportive community. Shortly afterward, I met several of the advisors, including my own advisor Kimberly Hunter, one of the most charismatic people I have ever met! All individuals who are related to the Kearns Center programs are paired with advisors who act as an additional guidance beyond their regular academic advisor.

Becoming a Kearns Center Scholar
Skipping forward, after wandering into Kimberly’s office, she convinced me to sign up to become a Kearns Center Scholar. The process of becoming a Kearns Center Scholar includes a group interview and taking an additional one-credit course called Navigating the Academy taught by the advisors. The course was extremely interesting as I was able to learn about the major conflicts affecting race and gender in higher education and learn neat strategies for time management and dealing with homesickness.

Kearns Center Entrance
Kearns Center Entrance


Upon becoming a Kearns Center Scholar, there are a lot of benefits like free printing and textbook loans, but more importantly, the strong sense of community among the Kearns members and the Kearns faculty. Additionally, receiving many emails about research and internship opportunities over the summer is a nice perk of being a Kearns Center Scholar.

All in all, I would highly recommend joining the Kearns Center as a strong sense of community is built there. Although the deadline for the Kearns Center Scholar has passed for this semester, applicants are accepted at the beginning of each semester! Hopefully, as I continue my career at the Kearns Center, I will be able to join the other programs that the Kearns Center has to offer!


Return to the top of the page