Planting SEEDS for advanced degrees

Julia Sprowls

The College of Education, Health and Human Services at Kent State will conduct its first Summer Experience for Emerging Diverse Scholars, or SEEDS, program June 16 to 18. This program aims to encourage prospective graduate students of diverse backgrounds to consider Kent State’s EHHS master’s program as their school of choice.

Vilma Seeberg, a foundation, leadership and administration associate professor, is helping with SEEDS this summer.

“SEEDS’ intent is to attract highly qualified students of color to our programs while showcasing the amenities and the Kent-Akron-Cleveland area with the goal of future enrollment into their graduate program of choice in EHHS,” Seeberg said.

N.J. Akbar, director of Diversity Outreach and Development within EHHS, said they are recruiting for all graduate programs. He said the overall goal of the program is to diversify the college.

“We’re trying to give students scholarships to consider coming to Kent State from anywhere in the country,” Akbar said.

To be considered for the summer program, students must apply and have a 2.75 GPA or higher. All students who participate receive a $1,000 scholarship, which Akbar said is the minimum. Students can receive up to full graduate assistance that pays for all tuition costs. Akbar said EHHS Dean Daniel Mahony is providing the scholarships, and participants will have the opportunity to meet and have lunch with him.

During their two and a half days in Kent, participants will get a feel of Kent’s campus, visit nearby cities like Akron and Cleveland and have a chance to talk with current Kent State graduate students. Seeberg said they will attend at least one entertainment event in Cleveland or Akron.

“They’ll get a really good experience in two and a half days to see if this is a place they want to be,” Akbar said.

Seeberg said there are two students attending the program this summer interested in her area of EHHS. One is an Akron graduate, and the other is from the College of Wooster.

In addition to meeting current students, participants will also have the chance to meet and network with faculty from their area of interest in EHHS.

“They’ll have interviews with their program and get a chance to possibly sit in a class,” Akbar said.

Seeberg said she will give the prospective students an orientation to the Cultural Foundations program and introduce them to current graduate students. These kinds of introductions could be beneficial for the prospective student’s admission process, Akbar said.

“When you’re looking at people’s applications strictly on paper, it’s harder to get their backstory,” he said. “This program gives students the opportunity, face-to-face, to help sell yourself as potential master’s students.”

SEEDS is co-sponsored by Alfreda Brown, the vice president of the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Akbar said Brown will meet and have lunch with the participants.

“They’ll have the opportunity to interact with faculty members of the programs they are interested in,” Akbar said. “They’ll have interactions with many people and many other students and also community members.”

Contact Julia Sprowls at [email protected].