Back to School: A College Conversation

Legacy Interns from left to right: India Wells-Carter (KSI Staff), Jairo Fernandez, Elizabeth Freeman, Martae Marshall, LaBrea Stevenson, Kit Sengdara, Kori McCrary, Jennifer Galves, Sophia Garcia (KSI Staff), Marquita Edwards, Tamara Horne, (not pictured, Jesus Garcia).

This past week, Kauffman Scholars concluded its annual Legacy Internship program. Each summer, ten Kauffman Scholars college students participate in an eight-week internship designed to better prepare them for careers after graduation.

In addition to assisting with programming and working on projects, the internship curriculum focuses on furthering each Scholar’s understanding of Mr. Kauffman’s legacy and how this can be realized in the local, national and global community every day.

During their final lunch before heading back to school, I took the opportunity to reflect with them on their internship and the year of school ahead.

How was it working with incoming college freshmen this summer?

Kori: I wanted to tell them everything! They had a lot of questions. I would have been OK with doing a panel every week at our Summer Bridge program.


What was one particular question or theme that kept coming up during the Summer Bridge (SBE) sessions?

Jairo: Roommates.

Tamara: Parties. There were a lot more questions about parties at SBE (incoming college freshmen) than Bootcamp (rising high school seniors).

Marquita: FERPA.

Kit: One group focused a lot on race and being a minority on campus.

Elizabeth: We discussed going to a Predominantly White Institution and the resources available for multicultural students.


From your experience, what is it like attending a Predominantly White Institution (PWI)?

Martae: Attending a PWI was a culture shock. I figured being in Chicago, it would have a lot of similar levels of diversity as my high school, Lincoln College Preparatory Academy. However, it’s mostly international and white students at my school.

Elizabeth: It was really hard. Even being half-white.


Thinking back, what do you wish you knew as a first-year college student?

Kori: Studying was really hard. In college you have to apply knowledge, not just rote memorization. In high school, I just memorized the content and passed courses. In college, I got F’s my freshman year.

Marquita: The amount of free time was overwhelming. I went home a lot for that reason. I had to make sure I was using my planner. I had friends who would just hang out in the student union, but I had to learn how to manage my time effectively. 


What are you most worried about or inspired about the younger generation?

Elizabeth: I’m impressed with their openness to talk about sensitive or difficult topics (e.g. sexual education and healthy relationships at SBE). Especially since these discussions will be occurring on their college campus.

Marquita: I’m concerned about their grammar and writing skills.


What are your plans for this upcoming school year?

Kori: I plan to join more clubs, at least two. It took me awhile to find my fit.

Martae: I plan to start my own student organization.

Jennifer: I plan to get more involved and meet new people.

Marquita: I will be a mentor and I plan to attend more student conferences.

Elizabeth: I will have a new internship planning events for the Women’s Center on campus.

Kit: I plan to get a job and bring 1 Million Cups to my campus.

Jairo: I will be a community assistant in the residence hall, will launch my t-shirt company and would like to connect students interested in music production on campus.

Tamara: I have an interview to be a math tutor, want to get more social and find an internship for next summer.

LaBrea: I plan to join more clubs (major specific) and will be a peer coach in UMKC’s coaching program.”


What would you tell your freshman year self today?

Kori: Get involved.

Tamara: Stay focused.

Kit: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s OK to cry.

Jairo: Study and save money.

Marquita: Don’t go home often. Utilize professors’ office hours.

Elizabeth: Keep sight of yourself.

Jennifer: Don’t give up.

Martae: Be willing to change and adapt.


Thanks to all of our Legacy Interns who served this summer helping younger students in their transition to college and with Kauffman Scholars programming. Best of luck in the coming year as you continue to make Mr. Kauffman proud by living out his legacy.

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Eric Wilkinson

Eric Wilkinson

Eric Wilkinson manages the day-to-day operations of the postsecondary team and provides direct supervision to the Postsecondary Coaches and Advisors. Prior to joining Kauffman Scholars in 2009, Eric spent five-plus years in higher education working in the areas of admission and student affairs. Eric earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Pittsburg State University.