Kent State Fellows plan for grad school

Kelsey Husnick

The goals of the Kent Fellows Academy are community building in the short term and professional building in the long term, said Victoria Bocchicchio, special assistant to the dean of the Honors College and director of the program.

The Honors College and the provost’s office established the academy last

year to help incoming freshmen art and science majors plan for their futures.

“The idea was that we would identify students who knew very early that they

were going to go on to graduate school,” Bocchicchio said, “and who we felt were

strong enough academically to be contenders for fellowships and assistantships.”

Fellowships are very, very competitive, and graduate schools want to see

that students can do the kind of high-quality, intensive work that their programs

demand, Bocchicchio explained. The academy helps students demonstrate this by

guiding students’ college experiences in the right direction.

Incoming honors freshmen with a 30 ACT score and a 3.8 high school GPA

are asked to apply for the academy. Fifteen are accepted into the program based on

their extra-curricular activities, an essay, a list of goals and their desire to study

abroad or away while in college.

The academy typically meets a couple times a semester and students are

required to attend events on their own throughout the year.

“The more well-rounded you are as a person, the better you are when you

are applying for those really competitive opportunities,” Bocchicchio said. “Even if

they’re science students, we wanted them to go to a play or a concert and really get

a full range of experiences.”

“It forced me to go to some campus events that I probably wouldn’t have

gone to them if I didn’t have to, and they were really fun,” said Brandy Grove, a

junior physics major in the academy.

Over the course of their four years at Kent State, students in the academy are

expected to create their own service project, conduct a small research project with a

professor, study abroad or away and finally write a senior honors thesis.

The prize at the end of the finish line is a coveted fellowship, and the

academy helps “students build a kind of college resume that will help them secure a

funded graduate position in whatever field they want to go into,” Bocchicchio said.

Contact Kelsey Husnick at [email protected].