Meet the Kent State Class of 2023

More than 20,000 people applied to be part of Kent State’s Class of 2023, and 4,270 can now consider themselves to be Golden Flashes.

Who are they, and where do they come from?

Three of every 10 students are the first in their families to attend college, while 20% come from 38 states outside of Ohio and from the District of Columbia. The class also includes 82 international students arriving from 29 countries.

A record number of applicants filled out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and one in six students of the Class of 2023 is considered to be coming from poverty.



4,270Enrolled Freshmen
961Transfer Students
1,280First Generation

Numbers aside, this incoming class arrives with a wide range of experiences and backgrounds.

Meet Megan Schinker

Student in Lab

Megan Schinker got a jump on her classmates; while still in high school she seized on a research opportunity in Kent State’s geology lab.


Megan Schinker of Stow got quite a jump on her peers by helping to identify an extinct, 300-million-year-old, tiny and unknown crustacean specimen. While still in high school, she made the most out of her research internship by working in Kent State’s geology lab with Rodney Feldmann, Ph.D.

Schinker jumped right in and began comparing the cyclid specimen to anything she could find in literature and online sources in the lab. They even requested samples and pictures of lost samples from all over the world and examined them closely, cataloging their physical and structural attributes.



3,407Ohio Residents

Thus, began a new research collaboration between Schinker and Feldman and has led to not only several scientific publications and presentations on cyclids but also to igniting Schinker’s passion for geology.

She hopes to double major in geology and chemistry.

Meet Michael Marhefka


Michael Marhefka took his camera around the world to capture serious issues and use them in passion to seek a degree

Michael Marhefka is a freshman photography major from Richland County. A year ago, through his participation in Young Entrepreneurs Academy, Marhefka created JTFapparel, a clothing company that gives back to Destiny Rescue, a Christian organization dedicated to rescuing children trapped in exploitation and the sex trade.

His support of Destiny Rescue through his company soon led him on a two-week adventure to the organization’s headquarters in Cambodia and Thailand. There, he discovered a passion for photography.

“This was my first time in a third world country and was heartbroken by the way of life, that I was previously oblivious to,” Marhefka said. “Inspired by the unique way of life in this new country, I began taking photos, trying to remember every moment, journaling incessantly to preserve the sounds, the smells, the passion, the heartbreak.”



3.45Avg. GPA
572Honors College
(new record)

He returned from the journey with a strong desire to study photography and is a recipient of the Wallace J. Hagedorn Scholarship in Photography in Kent State’s College of Communication and Information.

“I found that sharing the hurt and the problems of another country through imagery and the personal experience behind the images helped me to not only be passionate about the difficult topics but to infuse a sense of passion in those I was talking to,” Marhefka said. “As a photography major, I want to use my abilities as a photographer to create new perspectives in people around me and to aid organizations such as Destiny Rescue relay their mission and create a need for change.”

Meet Chase Brown

Chase Brown - Ninja Warrior

Chase Brown looks to make his mark someday competing as American Ninja Warrior.


Chase Brown might be a bit tough to track down on campus, that’s because he’s usually climbing, jumping or lifting something. 

At age 18, he’s still a year away from being able to compete on the NBC’s American Ninja Warrior, but he had a busy summer traveling to Las Vegas to be a tester for the show’s final competition and competing in the Ultimate Ninja Athletic Association World finals in Minnesota.

Last year, Brown ranked number one in the world for 16-17-year olds in the National Ninja League. Now, he’s moved on to the adult/pro division and has started the season ranked third in the world. 



39States Outside Ohio represented
(38 + Washington, D.C.)
82International Students
29Countries Represented
(30 if USA is included)

The freshman digital media production major hopes to one day open his own Ninja Warrior gym. He expects that his studies at Kent State will help him to build his brand, Chase the Magic Ninja, and to learn about how to create shows like American Ninja Warrior.
 “I want to learn more about the behind-the-scenes production of the show and learn useful skills to help with editing and making my YouTube videos and my Ninja Warrior podcast,” he said. 

Meet Beyase Wu

Beyase Wu

Beyase Wu traveled more than 7,700 miles from her hometowns of Taichung, Taiwan & Okinawa, Japan to study Fashion Design and Fashion Merchandising.  Her journey around the world is also part of a tribute to her family.
“My father majored in International Affairs and my mother has her own bridal company associated with Swarovski Crystals and other brands,” Wu said. “My mother didn't get the chance to major in the arts so I wanted to be her second chance by living her dream to attend a fashion school. Since my father is a business guru and I got my artistic abilities from my mother's side of the family, I wanted to get into both Fashion Design and Fashion Merchandise.”
Wu is one of 82 international students in the Class of 2023, and one of 1,523 international students across Kent State’s 8-campus system.

Meet Joanna Georges

Joanna Georges

Members of the Class of 2023 didn’t need to wait for the first day of classes to meet Joanna Georges.  All they had to do was go to the internet.
“I am actually a YouTuber, who creates videos about fashion, makeup, daily vlogs, and now fashion videos,” she said. “I am also in the process of writing my first young adult book and hope to get it published with the next year or two. “
A Fashion Merchandising major from Ocean Township, New Jersey, Georges is a first generation college student and the first in her family to be born in the United States. She felt Kent State was the perfect fit on many levels.
I chose the Fashion School because I wanted to be far from home and at one of the best schools in the world for my major at a school that can also provide me with a traditional college experience.”
As for youtube, Georges posted one video dedicated to her receiving her admission letter from Kent State!  (We’re really glad you’re here too)



1,048Enrolled in Arts & Sciences
579Enrolled in College of the Arts
516Enrolled in Education, Health and Human Services

Meet Ally Landrum
Ally Landrum

Ally Landrum already sees Kent State in a way that will be educational for many of her classmates.
“I have synesthesia. Things like numbers, letters, names, and words have colors and even emotions and personalities,” she said.  “I hate certain words or numbers just because of their color or because they’re rude or arrogant. My name is actually spelled with an I but I hate the letter I and I thought Y better suited my personality.”
With her unique focus on colors, it seems fitting that Landrum hails from a small town called Blue Ash, which boasts a population of 12,000 residents just north of Cincinnati. As a Fashion Design major, Landrum plans to embrace her synesthesia and educate her peers along the way.  
“I also have to set the volume on my music and TV to different numbers based on my mood. I can’t stand the number 7 because it’s a light orange and it thinks it’s better than everyone. 14 makes me uncomfortable because it’s a very uneasy magenta with a little bit of off white that I find untrustworthy.”  

Meet Katelyn Prado

Katelyn Prado

The Class of 2023 already has someone to look up to, literally.  Classmate Katelyn Prado spends her free time off the ground as an aerialist enjoying such challenges as lyra and trapeze.
As a Fashion Design major from Kansas City, Prado’s future fashions may very well include fashions for her aerial work.
“I chose the KSU Fashion School because it’s one of the top programs in the country and is way more affordable than other fashion school,” Prado said.

Eric Mansfield
UPDATED: Friday, September 20, 2019 - 3:03pm
POSTED: Friday, September 20, 2019 - 2:48pm