Making Kent State a Family Tradition

A current student and her alumna mom share their Kent State experiences

Kendra Minichello has just begun her sophomore year at Kent State, pursuing a major in human development/family studies, with a concentration in child and youth development and a double minor in psychology and disability studies and community inclusion. Her mother, Stacie Minichello graduated from Kent State in 1995 with a degree in Fashion Merchandising with a minor in marketing. She is a senior processing specialist with Progressive Insurance.

Over summer break from their home in Richmond Heights, Ohio, Kendra and Stacie were happy to answer questions about their Kent State experiences and share how attending Kent State is a tradition in their family.

“Most of my family have attended Kent for decades,” said Kendra. “My parents met there and some of my cousins were there when May 4 (1970) happened.”
Q: How did you choose to come to Kent State for college?
Kendra: “Many people choose where they are going to go to college based on what they want to do, but I did not know what I wanted to do, so I chose Kent State based off of its location and convenience. I loved the campus and knowing where everything was on campus was a plus. When I toured the campus, all of the students and staff were welcoming and friendly, which made Kent State more likeable for me.”

Q: How do you feel about your daughter’s choice of Kent State?
Stacie: “I was excited to hear that she chose my Alma Mater for her college experience. I feel it’s a great fit for her. It’s close to home, but not too close. She can still have her independence but come home as needed. Kent State has a great reputation and has a lot to offer to its students. The campus is beautiful and the education they offer is about the best.”
Q: Do you feel that you’ve found the right place for you – the place where you belong?

Kendra: “I do feel as though I have found the right place for me, the place where I belong. Kent State is truly my home away from home. I have not felt homesick while being there, or uncomfortable.”
Q: How do you see your daughter embracing her college experience?
Stacie: “Her first year on campus was a good experience. She liked living in the dorms, meeting new friends and becoming active in various student events. She was involved in the EXCEL program (a learning community for exploratory students), explored different majors on campus and enjoyed cheering on KSU at various sporting events.”

Q: What do you love about Kent State that you were still able to enjoy when you had to learn remotely?
Kendra: “I love that Kent State provides tutoring and other academic/career help. When everything switched to remote, I could still easily contact my advisor and teachers, and get the help I needed in all of my classes. I was also able to collaborate with other students and faculty members, especially in University College and the EXCEL program. Work was another big thing for me at the university. I work at the Career Exploration and Development Center, and we were still able to keep in touch, collaborate on things, and have a Zoom party.”

Q: How do you feel about the university’s efforts in helping students learn remotely?
Stacie: “I feel like they prepared all summer to improve the remote experience for students. They have communicated the plan well and the video spotlights on Facebook have been very informative. I am hopeful that fall will be a well-organized remote learning experience.”

Q: Can you give an example of how one of your professors went above and beyond to help you?
Kendra: “My very first semester, I took College Writing 1with Madeleine Wagler (a graduate assistant teaching in the Department of English) and, although this class was one of the first she was teaching, I thought she was phenomenal. You could tell she wanted all of us to succeed, and she was super helpful. For all of my essays, I would send the drafts to her to look over and she would get back to me right away. Whenever I was stuck, Madeleine would be there to help me put my thoughts together. She never made me feel less than, but she made me want to work harder. At the end of the course, she asked me if she could use one of my essays on plastic pollution in our oceans as an example for her future classes. This made me feel so confident and happy because no one has ever asked me that before, so it meant a lot that she helped me become a better writer and then wanted to showcase my writing skills.”

Q: How do you feel the university helps students succeed in their studies and in preparing them for a career?
Stacie: “The university offers various opportunities for student assistance, including tutoring and access to the Career Exploration and Development Center. The exploratory program is a great way for undecided students to explore the many offerings at Kent State. I feel if a student needs help, there is always someone there to help or to direct them to someone who can.”

Q: What are the things you miss about Kent State when you’re on break or off campus?
Kendra: “When I am off campus or on break, I miss the campus life the most and my friends. Kent State has a completely different atmosphere than home does. I enjoy going to basketball and volleyball games, so I was really sad when I went home on weekends or breaks, and I missed some.”
Q: What are you looking forward to next semester?
Kendra: “I am looking forward to visiting the Kent campus and learning new things while taking remote classes. I will be on campus once in a while to visit friends (that I have not seen since February/March), to meet with my advisor and get help through the tutoring center and with my classes.”
Q: What would you tell a high school senior or a friend who is thinking about coming to Kent State?

Kendra: “I would tell them that Kent State is the best. The university provides assistance to everyone, no matter their situation, and there is always a place for you there. Since I went into the undecided/exploratory program at Kent, I had help coming from everywhere. Nicole Kotlan [director of the exploratory advising center] and Kristin Carvajal [senior learning community coordinator] were my biggest supporters when I was an exploratory student. When I told Kristin that I was ready to pick a major and double minor, she was all for it and helped me through the entire process. Kent State has faculty members that are not only encouraging and friendly, but they work harder for you to be able to fulfill your dreams and expectations. It is so hard to not find your place at Kent State because there are always people talking to you and events around campus to do. You would never be bored, and you will have the best time there. There is so much more I could say about Kent State and how wonderful it is.”
Q: What are some things you feel Kent State is doing to help in your success while you’re a student and also to prepare you for success after graduation?
Kendra: “Kent State is doing everything in its power to help me succeed and meet all of my expectations. I am planning on graduating within three years, and then going to get my Master’s in child life. My advisor and I have been working together and constantly talking to each other in order to make sure that this plan is a possibility for me. I also hope to study abroad at some point. The Career Exploration and Development Center has mock interviews and resume/cover letter help that I have taken part in or will be utilizing. There are endless possibilities and opportunities that Kent State has provided me with so far, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds and where I will be after I graduate.”

Q: What would you tell another parent about Kent State?
Stacie: “I would say that Kent State is a reputable school with strong academic and a great place for young adults to further their education.”

To learn more about Kendra’s major, visit the School of Lifespan Development and Educational Sciences, in Kent State’s College of Education, Health and Human Services

The EXCEL Living Learning Community is part of University College’s exploratory program, which allows students who haven’t yet declared a major to explore the options available to them.  Learn more at

To access student resources in the Career Exploration and Development, visit


POSTED: Monday, October 12, 2020 - 10:43am
UPDATED: Tuesday, October 13, 2020 - 9:56am
Phil B. Soencksen