Kim Ransom, Director, University of Chicago Collegiate Scholars Program:
Just like the students who participate in the University of Chicago Collegiate Scholars program, I grew up in Chicago and attended Chicago Public Schools. I understand the barriers that students face in trying to find the kind of mentoring they need to help them gain access to higher education. Academic success depends upon a culture that we seek to foster in each individual child and in his or her family. This culture values high performance, but it's about more than test scores and grades. It fosters the belief that promising CPS students have the potential to attend highly selective schools. It shows them the way through radical engagement.
College access programs like ours seek to help Chicago Public Schools students with high potential to make history: to become the first generation of students in their families, schools, and communities, to attend a top college. I know for sure that upon graduating college, Collegiate Scholars alumni will also begin the work of making history in our world. They have the experiences, education, intellect, creativity, agency, eagerness, and determination to be the change makers and leaders of the next generation.
It is an awesome privilege for me to be in a position to provide young people and their families a platform from which to grow beyond stereotypes and statistics. I am these students. There is no better feeling, and no better tangible reward. I'm just happy to help.