By Steven Krolak
For the first time, IU Southeast was chosen to host a group of high-achieving middle and high school students who originally came to Louisville, Ky. as refugees, through a college and career readiness program run by Kentucky Refugee Ministries (KRM) of Louisville, in partnership with Catholic Charities Migration and Refugee Services.
The Super Saturday College and Career Readiness Day took place this past Saturday, Dec. 5.
In all, 19 students from Bhutan, Burma, Cuba, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Iraq participated in the event. These middle and high school students attend a wide variety of schools throughout Jefferson County. The program included a tour of campus led by Admissions staff, a resume-writing tutorial and a workshop entitled, “Sharing Your Story” guided by KRM staff and a former refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Organizers/facilitators included McConnell Scholars from the University of Louisville involved with KRM.
The Super Saturday program brings a group of bilingual students from around the world to a university in the area to learn about the college admissions process or internships, and to acquire a familiarity with skills needed in college and career. Based on the positive relationship IU Southeast has had with KRM, the organization brought this talented group of students to the campus for a visit, and in order to encourage them to consider IU Southeast among their college options.
Dr. Lisa Hoffman, professor of education at IU Southeast, is on the board of KRM and helped to facilitate the visit.
“I’m proud to be part of a welcoming campus community that recognizes the extraordinary talents local students have to offer,” she said. “Middle and high school students in the KRM Super Saturday program are high academic achievers with career interests ranging from software engineering to obstetrics to teaching to physics. These students will graduate from U.S. high schools having mastered the English language in just a few years, completing graduation coursework requirements, and having developed a strong work ethic from adjusting to a new culture, language, and school system.”
KRM is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing resettlement services refugees through community and agency-based co-sponsorship in order to promote self-sufficiency and successful integration into the local community. It has been in operation for 25 years and this year alone had a caseload of over 1300 refugees and asylum seekers entering the U.S. from many countries. (Kentucky ranks in the top 20% of states receiving refugees, according to the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement.)
Adrienne Eisenmenger, family and youth services manager for KRM, said that the program allows students to discover what a college in America looks like and learn skills that will help prepare them for a bright future.
“Indiana University Southeast is a great partner in making their college and career goals a reality, which will be of great benefit to their families, community and our nation,” she said.
“IU Southeast is designed to help all students attain and gain from higher education,” said Chancellor Dr. Ray Wallace. “Access to higher education will help all prospective students realize the American Dream and in turn help develop our country into an even stronger beacon of hope for all.”
Photos courtesy of Adrienne Eisenmenger of Kentucky Refugee Ministries.