See You @ College explores routes to success for low-income students


Dr. Steve Perry, principal of Capital Preparatory Magnet School, spoke at the “See you @ College” conference in the ballroom Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014. Perry, along with many other guest speakers, gave advice regarding first generation college students and improving college enrollment numbers.

Breyanna Tripp

Kent State hosted area professionals at its See You @ College conference Thursday to discuss the challenges that low-income, first-generation college students face.

Community leaders and organizations gathered in the Student Center Ballroom in hopes of finding solutions to increase the college enrollment of low-income, first-generation students.

Provost Todd Diacon started the conference by thanking Iris Harvey, vice president of university relations; assistant provost Said Sewell; and Rev. Ronald J. Fowler, special assistant to the president of Kent State, the supervisors of the See You @ College program.

Steve Perry, founder and principal of Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford, Conn.,  gave the keynote speech about reaching out to and mentoring first generation college students.

“My goal is [to] lend my voice to the effort that Kent State is making to expand college access to students especially those students from historically disadvantaged populations,” Perry said.

Perry, an education contributor for CNN and MSNBC, told the crowd about how he came from a low-income family but overcame obstacles through Upward Bound, a federal program that prepares low-income students for college.

“Its not about the money, its not about the poverty, its about the people,” Perry said.

Capital Preparatory Magnet School has sent 100 percent of its low-income, minority, first-generation high school graduates to four year colleges, according to the school’s website.

Harvey provided the audience with graduation and enrollment statistics of low-income students in her opening speech.

“If they don’t have anyone to coach them, they’ll focus on the big price tag of college,” Harvey said.

Fowler hosted the first panel discussion with a parent of a college student, and representatives from Alchemy Inc., Esperanza Inc. and Youth Opportunities Unlimited, organizations dedicated to mentoring youth. Kent State awarded the panelists for helping with See You @ College.

“We care about helping people become who they have the potential to be,” Fowler said.

After Fowler’s panel discussion, attendants broke out into various panel sessions where they discussed how to find the best college, dual enrollment, post-secondary education programs, the importance of college and the effects of education attainment.   

Cheryl Carter, director of outreach and recruiting at North Central State College, feels that work has to be done to make the programs relevant to the students.

“If we can create those experiences for them to self discover,” Carter said, “Then we can see massive transformation.”

Contact Breyanna Tripp at [email protected].