KOKOMO, Ind. —It’s one thing for a university leader to tell colleagues that a campus program is having positive impact on students.
Having a student endorse it carries even more weight.
Speaking as the only student attending the recent High Impact Practices at the State Conference, Indiana University Kokomo senior Jonatan Bracamontes Lopez told his own positive story about the Kokomo Experience and You (KEY) program. The four-year program, which emphasizes learning through doing, includes opportunities for foreign and domestic travel, hands-on research experiences, art retreats, and career networking events, among others.
“KEY is a gateway to all sorts of experiences, and new ideas, and collaboration,” he said. “It rounds you as a human. You get to have a moment to step outside of academia and take a look at the real world. I’m very proud to be part of something that encourages students to develop themselves to be better students and better people.”
Attending the conference gave him unique insight into the behind-the-scenes work of higher education, he added.
“It makes me feel proud to come from IU Kokomo, because our administrators work hard to find ways to benefit the students,” he said. “IU Kokomo promotes an environment where ideas are meant to thrive, and collaboration is not only valued, but encouraged.”
He provided a student’s perspective on the program as part of a presentation by Mark Canada, vice chancellor for academic affairs, Scott Jones, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs, Christina Downey, assistant vice chancellor for academic affairs and student success, and Tracy Springer, director of the Career and Accessibility Center, at the national conference, at California State University, Dominguez Hills. About 250 college leaders attended.
Downey noted that his participation made a strong case for IU Kokomo’s approach to student success.
“I think that Jon’s strong and articulate endorsement of our approach really captured their attention, and convinced our audience that our approach is working well for students on our campus,” she said.
In addition to serving as the social media intern for the KEY program, Bracamontes Lopez has participated in multiple KEY experiences. He’s traveled to Chicago twice, one for meetings with professionals in the communication arts field, and another time for an advertising career fair — which led to a potential job opportunity.
While networking at the Chicago Advertising Federations career fair, he connected with someone who later invited him back to Chicago for a job interview.
“If I hadn’t met the content manager at that company, I would never have thought of messaging him on LinkedIn, where I learned about the job,” he said. “I applied for the job, and received an email that they wanted to interview me. I’m excited to have the opportunity to experience an interview in Chicago for a very large advertising agency that deals with very large businesses and corporations.”
He encourages all students to take part in KEY activities, and to visit the KEY pad, in the Kelley Student Center, Room 114, to see the resources available there.
In addition to the academic benefits, Bracamontes Lopez said the KEY program also offers a chance to make friends and connect with faculty.
“You develop relationships with your friends and colleagues,” he said. “You meet students who are like you, who share your interests. And you see your instructors differently after traveling with them, and you’re more comfortable seeking them out for guidance and advice in the future.”
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.