Prioritizing Student Success
Ensuring Access

First-Generation Student Success

Students First Scholarships ensure access to a Kent State education for students regardless of their financial situation.

“Students from backgrounds like mine are not supposed to make it to college – some say we are forever bound to the environment we grew up in.”

John McDermott, accounting major and scholarship recipient, is the first in his family to continue his education beyond middle school. Though his family did not put an emphasis on schooling, John realized the value of an education because of positive childhood role models and the College Now Mentorship program. He completed high school while working two jobs and participating in Key Club, cross country, Rotary and more.

With no financial support from his family, John made the decision to attend Kent State and was the recipient of 16 different scholarships from community organizations and Kent State. He was driven not only to earn his degree but to maximize his collegiate career by taking advantage of the opportunities available to him. John completed eight internships and managed to stay very involved on campus, serving as President of Delta Sigma Pi, a professional business fraternity that operates the Deltasig concession stand in the business building. He also studied abroad in Prague and volunteered in the community at Habitat for Humanity, the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank and other local non-profit organizations.

“A college degree is certainly within reach for students who have the drive to make something great out of their lives,” said John. “You have to be willing to apply yourself, ask for help and accept assistance. It takes a tremendous amount of hard work, determination and grit to rewrite your educational trajectory.”

John will fulfill his childhood dream of completing a college degree in May, followed by a summer accounting internship at a “Big Four” accounting firm in Cleveland before entering graduate school in the fall.

“If I hadn’t received scholarships, I would have had to take out more loans and bear the mental stress of having a substantial amount of debt hanging over my head,” John said. “Having scholarships allowed me to devote more time to school and extracurriculars. Scholarships truly change the lives of students like me.”