About Rising Scholars

Rural Scholars participantsOUR VISION

Rising Scholars experience education as a means for weaving together the various threads of their experiences, their lives, their community, and their world. Rising Scholars understand their own responsibility for being lifelong learners and engaged community members.

The program's collaborative values, rooted in an appreciation for place, culture, and local history, will bring together university resources with community assets to produce innovative curriculum and dynamic service experiences for students along the K-16 continuum. As students succeed, they will have structured opportunities to reinvest their own energies and talents back into the community. Students who complete the high school portion of the program will be eligible to apply for a Rising Scholars Scholarship at Kent State's Salem and East Liverpool campuses, serving as mentors for the students following in their footsteps.

Kent State University’s Salem and East Liverpool campuses, in collaboration with the local community,  are building a stronger pathway from the schools to our university classrooms by creating a program that will serve first-generation students in and around Columbiana County.

The development phase of the project was made possible by an AmeriCorps grant through the VISTA program in partnership with Ohio Campus Compact. Currently, the Rising Scholars is supported by Kent State University's Columbiana campuses and our local partners. Grants including Ohio's Community Connectors program and the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation ensure program sustainability.

The Rising Scholars Program will offer extended college access support to selected students across the K-16 continuum, making the excellence characteristic of a Kent education accessible to students of all ages. Our goal is to ensure that students who participate in our program attend and complete their chosen course of study in college or other post-secondary training, ultimately reinvesting their energies and talents in the local community.

Program Goals

Our goal is for every student in our program to complete their chosen path of success, whether it is college, the military, or the workforce, and ultimately reinvest their talents in their community.

A Measurable Impact

How will we know it’s working?

  • Children in eleven local school districts will gain direct exposure to college and enriching academic experiences.
  • Educators across the educational continuum will work collaboratively to develop innovative curricula and enhance educational outcomes in the area.
  • The program will systematically assess the progress of individual students as well as program elements on an ongoing basis. This will include examination of everything from survey responses to test scores, quality of service projects to GPAs.
  • Students not directly involved will benefit from the new curricula and information circulating in their districts, energizing students and teachers around college access and STEM subjects.
  • We hope to see improved collaboration and communication within the community around shared goals and treasured resources.
  • Rising Scholars will reinvest in their communities throughout their years in the program and beyond.


The Rising Scholars Program is generously supported by the following:

  • Rachel Boyce Lang Charitable Trust
  • Salem Community Foundation
  • Consumers National Bank
  • Sparkle Market of Salem
  • Local Businesses
  • Marion G. Resch Foundation

Contact Us

  • Dr. Jessica Paull, Academic Program Director, 330-337-4124 or jpaull@kent.edu

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