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Celebrating the Journey

Former Promise Scholar Erin Keller

As August comes to a close, many of 2019’s high school graduates are embarking on the next leg of their educational journey. To commemorate this occasion, this week’s blog features a Promise Scholar who continues to make the most of the resources provided to her by The Kalamazoo Promise (The Promise).

Born and raised in Kalamazoo, Erin Keller attended the Kalamazoo Public Schools (KPS) from kindergarten through 12th grade. After graduating from Kalamazoo Central High School in 2013, she went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work from Michigan State University and a Master of Social Work from the University of Michigan.

Looking back on her collegiate experience, Keller is thankful for the gifts provided by The Promise.

“I am so proud and grateful for the opportunities that The Promise provides for students,” she said. “I knew that I wanted to go directly from my undergraduate to my masters and I wouldn’t have had that opportunity without The Promise.

“I knew that graduate school was the only option for me to find employment in the social work field. The Promise helped me explore this option because they funded so much of my undergraduate education.”

Now an Academic Advisor at Florida State University (FSU), Keller specializes in assisting students who have yet to decide on a major.

“Being able to have this experience in higher education has been powerful,” she said of her career at FSU. “It has ignited a passion within me for working with students. I love to see the transition from high school to college and what that experience is like for individuals.”

Helping college students discover their career path has taught Keller a valuable lesson that she hopes current Promise Scholars can take advantage of.

“There is no right or wrong way to use The Promise,” she stated. “It is important to stay flexible. It is ok if your path does not follow the route that you intended.”

Eventually, Keller hopes to return to Michigan and maybe even work for The Promise. She sees it as the best way to give back to the community that has given her so much.

When asked what advice she wished to share with students who will soon be taking advantage of The Promise, Keller encouraged Promise Scholars to enjoy the process of learning.

“Find value in the journey and each moment of every day,” she said. “Sometimes you have an idea of what your future will look like but try to look at your goals through a holistic perspective.”

Well put, Erin! Congratulations on all of your success and thank you for sharing your experiences as a Promise Scholar.

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