Kyle Smith is graduating from Mercer University with a Master of Education in higher education leadership.

What are your plans after graduation?

I accepted a role as a program coordinator for the Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) program at Morehouse College. I will be working on curating effective programming and resources to help specific students that are interested in research in the STEM field.

Who was your favorite professor and why?

My favorite professor during my time at Mercer was Dr. Learty Shaw. Dr. Shaw was originally my Intro to Higher Education professor but later became my mentor throughout my time in the program. I am forever grateful for his guidance and tough love during my research process. His motivational pushes have now helped me find a place in the higher education field.

What was your favorite class and why?

My all-time favorite course is EDEL 618 Cultural Perspectives in Higher Education taught by Dr. Pamela Larde. This class shifted my cultural lenses, and I enjoyed the TED talk final project we were assigned. My TED talk topic was on higher education access for the incarcerated and returning citizen population.

How do you plan on changing the world?

My vision and promise will be fulfilled by fostering positive and open-minded relationships with students and faculty. In my future roles, I want to ensure students experience a sense of belonging to their campus and do not feel alone throughout their undergraduate journey. Without the guidance and support of staff at Bowling Green State University, where I attended undergrad, I would have not had the confidence to pursue graduate school or develop new passions within the postsecondary industry. I want to continue to pay forward to the future generations of scholars, black men and student leaders by providing them the same support and optimism to help them succeed in this world and make the undergraduate experience an enjoyable and memorable one.

What advice do you have for incoming students?

Stay focused on your passions and grind. Utilize all the resources that are available, and live in the moment. Embrace every win and loss because they will pay off at the end.

What makes Mercer special to you?

The community. When I arrived at the Atlanta campus just three weeks after my undergraduate graduation, I was alone in this big city. Over time, I began to see the kindness and welcoming spirit staff and students had on campus. I’m forever grateful for my Financial Planning family and my cohort. We still keep in touch, and I truly appreciate that a lot.

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