While in the sixth grade, Kiara Brown found out about an opportunity offered by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s Young Scholars Program (YSP) when staff from the Cleveland Young Scholars program came to speak at her school, the Cleveland School of the Arts. The program offers comprehensive academic, career, and personal development workshops that prepare Scholars for college success at Ohio State. “I decided to apply because I was a poor Black kid raised in a single-parent household. But I found out that one of my teachers had already recommended me for the scholarship, and I was accepted into the Pre-Young Scholars Program,” Kiara recalled. Not only did YSP provide Kiara with the tools she needed to be prepared for college, she also found a sense of belonging: “The Pre-Young Scholars Program made a difference by providing a community of students who were also financially challenged and knew that they could not otherwise afford a college education in the future.”
Once she began the Pre-Young Scholars Program, Kiara was able to participate in workshops on ACT preparation and visits to the Ohio State campus to prepare her for college life, activities that sometimes conflicted with other things in her life. For Kiara, however, the choice was an easy one: “I missed a few volleyball games and field trips, but I valued my education and a future of studying at the best college in the world,” she stated.
I have grown to understand those that are
different than me, whether racially,
financially, or developmentally.
A few weeks before Kiara was to begin her freshman year at Ohio State, she was headed to the YSP Summer Bridge Experience on the Ohio State campus. However, before she left, her grandmother, the person who came to most of the YSP meetings, passed away after a five-year fight with cancer. “Her passing really hit me, and I had a challenge participating in the activities of Bridge because I was emotionally frustrated and really depressed. With the assistance of YSP and my peers in the groups that I was involved with on campus, I got through my grief without the help of drugs or hurting myself,” she explained. And all of her determination paid off: her first year at Ohio State, Kiara was placed on the Dean’s List for both the first and second semester.
As an International Studies major with a focus on African Studies (and minors in Fine Art and French), Kiara has a strong desire to go abroad. She plans on volunteering in Tanzania and studying in either Uganda or South Africa during the summer of 2015. Academically, Kiara has big dreams, too: she intends on becoming a Fulbright Scholar and studying in Africa for a year. Once she graduates, Kiara wants to volunteer with the Peace Corps and eventually work in the United Nations to promote the needs of Africa.
Kiara would be the first person to acknowledge the impact that YSP had in helping her fulfill her dreams. “Without the help of The Young Scholars Program, I would not be the person that I am today or be blessed to attend The Ohio State University,” she concedes. And although YSP has worked with Kiara to provide her with the resources to attend Ohio State, it’s Kiara’s dedication and commitment to her personal growth that makes YSP work for her.