Student Says Dad Would Be Proud to See Him Mentoring His Peers, Helping the Community
Academics, public health community work and leadership training are at the top of Ivory Kendrick’s list of priorities for spring semester 2024.
As a sophomore in Kent State University’s College of Public Health, Kendrick is carrying a schedule of 17 credit hours including courses in biostatistics and public health policy and management.
He is putting his public health major to work as an AmeriCorps Vista intern designing posters for the City of Kent Health Department.
And Kendrick works as a trainer for the P.E.E.R. (Peer Experiential Education and Reflection) Success Academy, a two-credit hour course designed to train students to cultivate and nurture critical skills. The course serves as a foundation for peer educator and peer leader positions across Kent State.
“If it weren’t for this leadership training, I wouldn’t be doing everything that I’m doing today,” Kendrick explains. “I can do more than sitting at home after I do my homework. Some argue that I’m doing too much, but I argue that I am not doing enough. Everyone wants to leave their impact.”
Here is Kendrick explaining to Kent State Today why being a P.E.E.R. Success Trainer is setting the foundation for all of his other endeavors.
A Phenomenal Advocate
Hailey Mezurek, a Student Success coordinator, said she first encountered Kendrick last spring when he was a student at the P.E.E.R. Success Academy. It was then that she noticed how he immediately “leaned in to connect with those around him” which helped other students open up.
In the fall 2023, Mezurek supervised Kendrick when he became a Peer Success Mentor for students in the Flashes 101 course and now as P.E.E.R. Success Trainer. She describes Kendrick as a phenomenal advocate for his mentees who is deeply invested in his success and the success of those around him.
“If there is an opportunity to learn something new or gain additional leadership or professional experience – Ivory pursues it. He isn’t afraid to ask questions, seek support, or challenge himself – even in moments when he may be out of his comfort zone. Ivory has an authentic presence that is felt in each space he enters, and he embodies a curiosity for knowledge and drive for success in each space he enters. I believe that this is a crucial quality that allows him to truly connect with and motivate the students that he supports in both Flashes 101 and the P.E.E.R. Success Academy.”
Hardship Has Not Held Him Back
Kendrick has lived through many obstacles since his junior year at Ravenna High School when his dad died. He is “technically homeless” but during the summer of 2023 he participated in the Student Success Program’s Summer Advantage program. The Summer Advantage program supports the academic success and professional development of students on their paths toward graduation.
For the holiday season, he was fortunate enough to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with his foster parents who are friends of his family.
Kendrick’s passion, positivity, confidence and the help of administrators, friends and instructors at the College of Public Health help him push through when the going gets tough. They are like his second family, he said.
His Dad Would Be Proud
In November 2023, Kendrick served as a student panelist at the annual I AM FIRST Celebration. During the panel, Kendrick shared his stories and experiences as a first-generation student to an audience of more than 200 students, faculty, and staff.
“If only my dad could see me now, he would be floored,” Kendrick said. “Folks from back home send me messages. They have my back. I love the support.”