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Educated and Debt-Free

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Tevin Monroe

When The Kalamazoo Promise (The Promise) was established in 2005, 11-year-old Tevin Monroe’s family was considering moving away from Kalamazoo. Ultimately, his parents decided to stay to allow Tevin to take advantage of The Promise, recognizing how beneficial it could be for his future.

“My parents have been advocates of continued education, so it wasn’t a question of if I was going to college, but really where,” he said. “My freshman year of high school I was really looking into what colleges I wanted to attend.”

Ultimately, Monroe decided to attend Wayne State University (WSU) where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Food Science with a Minor in Public Health. In addition to the tuition paid by The Promise, he also received a scholarship from the Honors College and was able to graduate from WSU without debt.

After graduating, Monroe needed some time to decide what career path to pursue, but knew he wanted to get professional experience and make connections.

“After I graduated from college, I served with AmeriCorps for two years,” he shared. “My first year, I worked at a children’s hospital in Pittsburgh as a care coordinator where I educated healthcare providers on food insecurity. For my second year, I moved to Lexington, Kentucky to work in student affairs at Transylvania University.”

Impressed by his work ethic, Translyvania University hired Monroe as its Assistant Director of Campus and Community Engagement after his time at AmeriCorps ended. In his new role, he works with local organizations, students on volunteer teams, and in community-based Federal Work-Study programs.

Additionally, he connects nonprofits with volunteers, and students with service, leadership, and employment opportunities.

When describing what his favorite parts of the job are, Monroe refers to his time spent working with students and nonprofits.

“I learn as much from the students as I think as they learn from me,” he explained. “Working with nonprofits and community leaders is very unpredictable and never boring. The people that work in this field are easily some of the most passionate and intelligent people I know.”

When Monroe is not assisting others, his time is spent earning a master’s degree in Community Engagement with a concentration in Higher Education at Merrimack College. Thanks to his dedication, the financial stability afforded to him by The Promise, and the scholarships he has received, Monroe will be able to graduate nearly debt-free in 2021.

“I’d like to continue teaching and working in higher education,” he said about his future career path. “The students and leaders I work with constantly inspire me and I want to continue focusing on civic engagement and work with faculty to increase service-learning components in academic coursework.”

With a bright future ahead of him, Monroe certainly has a lot to look forward to. He still reflects on his time as a student in the Kalamazoo Public Schools and hopes that future Promise Scholars make the most out of the opportunities given to them as they prepare for life’s next step.

“Work to find the knowledge that you are looking for and how it can work for you,” he recommended. “Take education out of the four walls of the classroom and integrate it into other aspects of your life.

“Things that were useful in my college search were thinking about colleges as a community and spending time on campus. What are you are hearing when you are walking around? What type of student body are you seeing? Make sure it feels like the right fit for you.”

This is an excellent example of how The Promise can set up students for future career success. Way to make the most out of your opportunity, Tevin! Transylvania University is lucky to have you as a part of its staff.

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