ISEC Academy Builds Campus Community
- Author: Alicia Carter
- Author: Wednesday, September 25th, 2019
This fall the Cynthia and George Nichols III ISEC Academy welcomed its third cohort of scholars.
The ISEC Academy, a program known for creating scholars at WKU, is designed to support students who identify as students of color (Black, Hispanic/Latin, Asian, Native American and Multiracial) and/or who are first-generation, Pell Grant-eligible. The program aims at assisting young scholars with transition, persistence and graduation throughout their college career. It includes three layers of mentorship, a living and learning community, weekly study requirements, involvement in monthly academic and cultural campus events, study away and study abroad opportunities, career readiness, intercultural celebratory events and community service.
ISEC Academy has seen success since it began in 2017 and has contributed to a higher overall retention rate for students of color at WKU. Combined, the first two cohorts have persisted at a rate that is more than 10% higher than their non-ISEC counterparts.
The program’s success can be attributed to the support network that is cultivated by the academy.
“I love our students. I love seeing them succeed. Sometimes I think we fall into a habit of looking at what students don’t have. I am blessed and privileged to have the opportunity to see what these students do have,” said Dr. Martha Sales, Executive Director of WKU’s Intercultural Student Engagement Center. “Some of our students have faced difficult challenges in their life. I see their resilience and their determination.”
The ISEC Academy’s living learning community helps build a student’s sense of belonging to WKU.
“ISEC Academy’s peer mentors and staff members are very hands on,” said Kiah Grier, a sophomore from Louisville. “They make sure we go to class. They check in with us. It’s like a family. Whether it’s studying together or watching a movie, we’re always together. I love that the living learning community helps cultivate study groups and social groups. We also get to take classes together.”
Students have the opportunity to build community with peers and staff members at the academy.
Jaden Grant, a sophomore from Louisville said, “I was nervous when I first came to college. Getting connected with ISEC Academy has set me up with a family in Bowling Green. These are the people who have stayed on me to do good work. They have helped me stay positive when classes were stressful. My entire community, my friends have mostly all come from the ISEC Academy. I love having conversations with the staff. It’s nice having someone ask us every week how we’re doing.”