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Our Scholars

Kauffman Scholars

Where We Are

Watch: “Kauffman Scholars Program Impact” | 2:17

We work each day to arm our scholars with the tools they need to achieve success, both in the classroom as students and as young professionals in the workplace. The work starts with individual coaching, is enhanced through experiential career immersion, and culminates in a positive career outcome for our scholars post-graduation.

Our scholars are provided a variety of opportunities throughout their time in the program that both support and enrich their experiences en route to the classroom and career success. Leadership, academic excellence, and service are the key principals we nurture when engaging our scholars.

Kauffman Scholars

Scholar Engagement

Watch: “Kauffman Scholars Coaching” | 2:31

On an annual basis, nearly 60% of all active scholars complete 24+ credit hours with an average GPA of over 2.5. Many of our scholars are also very involved on campus and in their communities. Our students’ commitments to academics and service is nurtured and reinforced through Kauffman Scholars coaching.

KSI high school prep

Kauffman Scholars coaching is strengths-based, helping scholars persist to, through, and beyond postsecondary completion. Coaches meet with scholars on their campuses and by video chat to collaboratively hone their social-emotional, academic, and self-advocacy skills. The following outlines both the theory and the practice for our coaching model and engagement strategies with scholars.

Our Coaching Model

Kauffman Scholars coach and student meet
A Kauffman Scholars coach meets with her Kauffman Scholar for a coaching session.

The Coaching Model provides a high-quality, student-centered coaching experience for every scholar in the program; the scholar is the expert of their experience.

The Coaching Model gives coaches evidence-based tools to customize support, helping scholars own and expand the strengths within themselves.

KSI coaching values


All coaches share four (4) professional beliefs about the ability of every scholar: respect, resilience, trust, and postsecondary completion.

The Coaching Model does not work without inherent belief in these four key values. These values inform all coaching practice.


Scholar engagement is grounded in social work theory and practice that is adapted to coaching.

Intervention strategies from strength-based theory, solution-focused counseling, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and trauma-informed care are integrated into the model.

Pillars and Practices

There are five (5) pillars that support all coaching conversations:


  • Trusting and caring adult.
  • Sustaining clear, professional boundaries.
  • Collaborating with college staff and parents.


  • Meetings scholars where they are in the moment.
  • Maintaining end goal of postsecondary completion.


  • Helping scholars set challenging goals.
  • Achieving impactful goals in short timeframes.


  • Grounding coaching in best practices and lessons learned.
  • Staying current with postsecondary education, scholarship management, and social work theory.


  • Teaching scholars how struggle and failure are a natural part of success.
  • Helping scholars identify their unique voice, path, and college-going identity.

The Coaching Model is dynamic. Coaches research and share best practices, learning from each other and customizing interventions. Scholar support is relevant, cutting edge, and aligned with evidence-based strategies in advising, counseling, first-generation student engagement, and postsecondary completion.

Engaging Scholars

Watch: “Kauffman Scholars: Persistence” | 2:30

Using the model, coaches develop strong, trusting, and professional relationships with scholars, meeting with scholars on their campuses for individual and small group sessions.

Coaches also host small group events and video chats and frequently use email and text communications to follow up with scholars in between sessions.

In-person meetings occur throughout the fall, spring, and summer semesters. Coaches tier engagement based on scholar need in academic, personal, and professional life spaces.

Knowing what falls outside of the role of coaching, and what to do in those situations, is of equal importance in the Coaching Model.

Coaches build partnerships on and off campuses for the safety and persistence of our scholars. Coaches thrive in their practice, meeting the needs of their scholars while maintaining clear boundaries in the areas of crisis response, mental wellness support, and the coach/scholar relationship.

Kauffman Scholars

Career Development

Kauffman Scholars Career Development

Kauffman Scholars anticipates over 800 alumni through program completion, with many of those graduates residing locally. The Career Development team works with both scholars and alumni, assisting each on their individual journeys to identify personal and professional strengths, interests, and talents to unlock each student’s individual genius.

By providing career exploration, professional experiences, and access to high-quality, industry-specific mentorship, Kauffman Scholars Career Development prepares scholars and alumni to thrive at the next level.

Jobs, Internships, Volunteering, & Education Fair


The J.I.V.E. Fair (Job, Internship, Volunteer, Education) provides scholars and alumni with connections and a space to network with Kansas City-area companies and organizations offering job, internship, volunteer, and educational opportunities beyond postsecondary completion.

Scholars and alumni gain applicable skills through various breakout sessions, which increase their knowledge and ability to demonstrate professionalism and competency in a workplace environment. Annual participants include over 125 companies across various industries and sectors in this region.

Watch: “JIVE Fair Info Video” | 3:05

The J.I.VE. Fair aims to:

  • Create an opportunity for both scholars and alumni to connect with a variety of Kansas City companies and organizations to line up potential jobs, internships, and volunteer opportunities during the summer, along with post-graduate educational opportunities.
  • Help scholars and alumni gain professional, networking, personal branding, and career readiness skills (e.g., maintaining a positive social media presence, how to professionally dress, etc.), and explore and develop their personal and professional strengths.
  • Allow scholars and alumni to build their professional network in order to find coaches, mentors, and/or sponsors who can guide scholars and alumni along their career journey.

The J.I.V.E. Fair is a mandatory event for all active scholars and open to all alumni.

Career Development Series

KSI Career Development series

The Kauffman Scholars Career Development Series provides scholars and alumni with professional connection and network building opportunities.

Students and alumni interact with professionals, and explore, engage, and eventually immerse themselves in a professional setting to learn more about the workplace environment related to their career interests.

The Kauffman Scholars Career Development Series consists of:

  • Shadow Day: Scholars and alumni spend the day with Kansas City-area organizations to learn more about the various professions and work environments.
  • Roundtable Represent: Scholars and alumni connect with Kansas City professionals of color in a smaller, more intimate setting where students can ask questions and gain insights from a variety of experts, allowing scholars and alumni to practice their networking skills. Roundtable Represent is a program centered on representation in the workplace and talking about opportunities in diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Scholar & Alumni Connect: These events are intentionally designed to connect and group scholars and alumni together around career-related topics. Programming examples include etiquette dinners, scholar and alumni socials, and various panel discussions.

Individualized Career Support


Additionally, the Career Development team provides individualized services and support to assist both scholars and alumni. Support includes, but is not limited to:

  • Resume and cover letter.
  • Interview prep.
  • LinkedIn profile development.
  • Job and internship postings.
  • Social media features/spotlights for scholars and/or alumni seeking employment opportunities.

All services are free to scholars and alumni and are available all-year long.

Legacy Internship

Kauffman Scholars legacy interns

The Legacy Internship, established in 2013, is a paid, nine (9) week internship program designed to enhance scholars as young professionals by participating in weekly professional development workshops, leadership trainings, and community service projects.

Over 60 scholars have participated in this legacy program since 2013.

Kauffman Scholars

Parent Engagement

Upon entry into the program, Kauffman Scholars placed an emphasis on the partnership between scholars, parents, and our staff to increase the odds that every scholar achieves academic and career success. We implement three tiers of engagement for our parents, giving them access to tools and resources to support their scholars to and through postsecondary completion.

Watch: “Kauffman Scholars: Access” | 2:53

Parent Summits

Quarterly summits are engaging workshops geared to inform parents about important programmatic updates and connects parents with other parents, as well as Kauffman staff.

Kauffman Scholars Quarterly

Kauffman Scholars alumni

This quarterly newsletter initially targeted for parents, updates readers on ‘what’s happening’ with the program. Each edition typically includes a major program highlight from that quarter along with scholar, alumni, and career programming reviews and an alumni and scholar profile. Beyond just parents, the newsletter is now distributed to all program stakeholders including alumni and institutional and community partners.

Parent Access

Similar to all scholars in our program, parents are assigned a Kauffman specific email address that provides access to a secure web portal and other G-Suite services.

Parents have access to the:

  • Organizational/program calendar.
  • Program status for parents’ scholars along with other approved scholarship information*.
  • Parent resource folder.
  • Coaches and other Kauffman Scholars staff members.

*Kauffman Scholars withholds academic and other protected information. This information is not shared with parents per federal guidelines (Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act).