Current Scholar Spotlight: Kyla Wilson

Kyla Wilson speaking to studentsKyla Wilson has put a lot of thought into her career path. “I always wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer, but I hate science so that didn’t work. As for the law, I like reading, but law just bored me!”

Enter her Uncle Jesse, who provided Kyla with some inspiration.

Her uncle would tell Kyla, who was good at math, that since she was in the fourth grade, she should know her multiplication tables. “He made me work in a composition book every day over the summer.” By the end of the summer, Kyla was hooked, and she knew that arithmetic was going to play a part in her future.

Having decided that math was the subject she wanted to study, Kyla needed to narrow down what, exactly, she wanted to do with her math skills. As a senior at the Dayton Early College Academy (DECA), in Dayton, Ohio, Kyla was able to do an internship with an accounting firm. “I was intrigued by accounting, but I didn’t really understand it. There were a lot of acronyms, and I didn’t know what they were talking about!”

Once she started classes at The Ohio State University, Kyla learned more about accounting and found it to be one of the most challenging things she’s encountered in college. “I actually saw growth in myself though my major, which I like. It wasn’t something that came easily to me. And I’ve also grown as a person because of it.” Now she is majoring in accounting with a minor in information retail studies.

That Kyla is at Ohio State, studying a major that she loves, hadn’t seemed possible a few years ago. “I never really thought about going to college because we didn’t have the means unless I had some type of merit scholarship.” But in her freshman year at DECA, Kyla was recommended and accepted into the Young Scholars Program. While in the Young Scholars Program, Kyla prepared for the Ohio Graduation Test and the ACT exam. She also came to campus during Summer Academy and the Summer Bridge Experience. “It got me into the mind frame that this was what college could be like. You go back to high school and think, ‘This is going to be my life in a couple of years.’”

Kyla is giving back to YSP and to the Scholars following behind her; she is a YSP Ambassador, a Peer Leader and an Academic Success Partner, assisting other Young Scholars in their transition from high school to college and helping them to overcome hurdles similar to ones she faced.

This past summer – her last before graduating from Ohio State – Kyla interned with L-Brands during an internal audit. That internship led to a job offer. In August, degree in hand, Kyla will start working at L-Brands in the Internal Audit department. She then plans to sit for the CPA exam within the next two years, a test that consists of four sections that Kyla says will each take two to three months of studying.

Kyla is grateful for all that YSP has done for her, and the people that she has encountered are ones that she will never lose touch with: “They are like family.” What YSP has done most for Kyla, she says, was to give her a chance not to become “a statistic.” She continues, “Being here [at Ohio State] is beating the odds. Being able to be that one out of the majority and meeting the standards that you’ve set up for yourself. And knowing that others have pre-conceived standards and being able to stand up to those as well.”


Prior Spotlights

Alessandra Bliss Spotlight

Alessandra Bliss Spotlight

A 1976 report, The Double Bind: The Price of Being a Minority Woman in Science, highlighted three challenges faced by underrepresented women in scientific disciplines: gender, race or ethnicity, and having a career in a STEM field. These same obstacles were familiar to Alessandra Bliss, a scholar in The Ohio State University’s Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Program. Read more on Alessandra Bliss.

Starling Tolliver Spotlight

Starling Tolliver Spotlight

When she was in middle school, Starling Tolliver read a book that changed her perception of what she could become. The book, We Beat the Streets, tells the story of three friends from poor, single-parent homes in urban neighborhoods who made a pact to go to college and become doctors and dentists. The book resonated with Starling because she also had two best friends who wanted to become doctors. Read more about Starling Tolliver.

Kato Mitchell Spotlight

Kato Mitchell Spotlight

Watching his parents struggle as a child, Kato Mitchell knew that there wouldn’t be much of a chance for him to attend a university. All of that changed when Kato found a way to a college degree through the Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s Young Scholars Program (YSP) in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. Read more about Kato Mitchell.

Marissa Weatherly Spotlight

Marissa Weatherly Spotlight

Growing up, Marissa Weatherly was raised by a single mother who instilled in her at a young age the importance of paying forward and having a good education. Marissa’s childhood included volunteering at soup kitchens – even though her family often ate at them – and spending her free time at the library attending programs and reading countless books. Read more about Marissa Weatherly.

Mark Reese Spotlight

Mark Reese Spotlight

As a young child, airplanes fascinated Mark Reese. Family vacations left him more excited for the plane ride than the vacation itself, and his mom bought him books on aviation that he would read from cover to cover. When Mark was eight years old, a United Airlines captain took him up in a light aircraft for a quick flight around eastern Colorado. Read more about Mark Reese.

Chris Schwarz Spotlight

Chris Schwarz Spotlight

After graduating from the University of Washington in Seattle with majors in Political Science and American Indian Studies and minors in Diversity and Human Rights, Chris Schwarz continued on his academic journey, and his high school friends had a lot to do with his choosing law as a profession. Read more about Chris Schwarz.

Mara Smith Spotlight

Mara Smith Spotlight

After Mara Smith graduated from Unioto High School in Chillicothe, Ohio, she knew her next step would be attending The Ohio State University to study respiratory therapy. That journey, however, took a slightly different path when two weeks after she began college, Mara found out that she was pregnant. Read more about Mara Smith.

Nicolas Fernandez Spotlight

Nicolas Fernandez Spotlight

My family emigrated from Colombia to Miami, Florida in 2011. Halfway through my senior year of high school, the process of applying to college was more stressful than I thought, and not being completely fluent in English added to my stress; I wasn’t sure whether my SAT writing and grammar scores would help me get anywhere at the time. Regardless of my doubts I had a desire to succeed and salir para adelante. Read more about Nicolas Fernandez.

Zaire Sims Spotlight

Zaire Sims Spotlight

Several times during her years in high school in Cincinnati, Ohio, Zaire Sims and her family were homeless, leaving Zaire with no idea as to how she could afford college. Zaire’s dream of attending college came closer to reality when a science teacher her freshman year took notice of her good grades, effort, and willingness to learn. Read more about Zaire Sims.

Veronica Harris Spotlight

Veronica Harris Spotlight

Veronica Harris didn’t always know that she wanted to be a dental hygienist. She received her bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice in 2010 from California State University, East Bay. “I was working as a juvenile counselor and was laid off from my job. I enrolled in a science course to keep me busy while I looked for work, and I became really interested in science and started to take more courses.” Read more on Veronica Harris .


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