A new study away opportunity for student-athletes will be offered this year as a Maymester course in Los Angeles. The course, Networking and the Art of the Pitch, was developed by Rachel Dubrofsky, chair of communication and rhetorical studies (CRS)…
Kessler Scholars Program Champions First-Generation Students
The Syracuse University Kessler Scholars Program supports transforming the undergraduate experience for first-generation college students through a powerful network of first-generation leaders, connected across multiple institutions throughout their college experience and beyond.
Carlota Deseda-Coon, Intercultural Collective Kessler Scholars Program director, shares more about enhancing the student experience through celebration and tradition. “We welcome our students and their loved ones further into a community of support and encouragement, where through intentional programming, high-achieving first-generation students can amplify their abilities, take advantage of opportunities for access and excellence, while following their dreams now and into the future,” she says.
Kessler Scholars Program Supports Interpersonal and Community Growth
College is known to cultivate growth through rigor, self-discovery and community connections, however, as the first member of a family or support system to go to college, it can also present additional obstacles when pursuing success.
In facing the challenges that college brings, the Kessler Scholars Program provides students with opportunities to help form a strong educational foundation. “It has provided me with many opportunities here at Syracuse University,” says Ashlyn Garcia ’26. “Some of these include attending Summer Start, becoming an orientation leader, mediating a panel for First-Generation Students Day and speaking at the Chancellor’s House. Kessler has given me a place to turn when I need help and has helped me thrive on campus.”
Kessler Scholars such as Hernan Quinde ’27, embody resilience and ambition as they break new ground for themselves and their families by pursuing their dreams. “Being part of this collaborative signifies a dedication to collective growth, learning and empowerment. It embodies a network that values diversity, collaboration and the advancement of each member,” Quinde says. “The experience extends beyond just academics, it’s about creating a supportive environment that encourages personal and professional development. The ability to contribute and benefit from such a community is truly invaluable.”
Kessler Scholars Coin Ceremony
In celebration of embarking on the journey as a Kessler Scholar, annually each fall, the Kessler Scholars Program Coin Ceremony and reception is hosted. During this time, new scholars are awarded a coin, symbolic of one’s membership in the Kessler Scholars Collaborative, a community of support that reaches beyond campus and graduation. Then every year as an undergraduate following, students will witness and welcome new scholars into the Syracuse Kessler family.
“The Coin Ceremony is a space where participating students connect and reconnect with each other, share their experiences as first-generation college students, discuss strategies to find a sense of community and belonging, which fuels their resilience and persistence through college,” says Deseda-Coon.
Being part of such a tight, well-rounded community has been highlighted by students as one of the most enjoyable and beneficial aspects of the program. Florencia Perez ’27 says the program “has enhanced my experience as a student at Syracuse University by making me feel part of a community where I am accepted and valued. The Kessler Scholars Collaborative means I’m part of a special community that is only there to benefit me and empower me to finish my degree as a first-generation student. I’ve met some amazing people already, and I can’t wait to continue my journey.”
Learn more by visiting the Kessler Scholars Program webpage.
Story by Esteban Quiñones ’24, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications