Salem Campus Hosts Rural Scholars Summer Workshop

The Rural Scholars “Feed Your Mind” summer workshop was held on the Kent State Salem campus in June. The week-long session included a field trip to a local organic farm; lessons about nutrition and health with nursing and radiology faculty; preparing food for the hungry at the kitchen on the Kent campus; and separating the fat from potato chips in the chemistry lab. The students also learned about the science of pork by a representative of Freshmark, followed by a ham and bacon lunch.

This year, there are 34 seventh and eighth graders from Southern Local, Salem, East Liverpool, Crestview, Wellsville and Lisbon schools. Each school selects three students from each grade. They are chosen based on their potential to succeed as first-generation college students.

The program also includes local Kent State students who serve as mentors to the rural scholars. There are nine mentors who also are first-generation college students from Columbiana County, each with a strong record of academic success and a desire to serve the community. Wendy Pfrenger is the program coordinator.

The program will offer additional workshops this fall and next spring geared toward connecting the students’ interests to career pathways in this region. The focus will be on engineering and health fields, interests strongly expressed by the students.

Kent State University's Rural Scholars Program offers first-generation college-bound students from Columbiana County a college access program designed to give them and their families the knowledge, rigorous academic exposure, and social support they will need to succeed at a world-class university. The goal is for every student in our program to complete post-secondary education with the credentials necessary to succeed in his or her career.

The program's collaborative values – rooted in an appreciation for place, culture and local history – combines university resources with community assets to produce innovative curriculum and dynamic 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 Rural Scholars Scholarship at Kent State's Salem and East Liverpool campuses, serving as mentors for the students following in their footsteps.


Media Contact:
Tina Smith,, 330-337-4247