As the 2019-20 academic year kicks off for schools across Lexington, a Transylvania University program designed to help first-generation and underrepresented student populations connect with college has been recognized for its efforts.
During the Fayette County Public Schools 2019 State of Schools presentation on Wednesday, Transylvania’s Pioneer Pathway program received a Golden Apple Partnership Award.
“The Golden Apple Awards recognize high-performance community partners that provide an exceptional commitment of time, energy and expertise to individual schools — or the Fayette County district as a whole,” said Taran McZee, associate vice president for diversity and inclusion at Transylvania.
“We have worked hard with Fayette County Public Schools to highlight our institution, but most importantly to give students of color an opportunity to experience college life,” McZee said.
Pioneer Pathway got its start when Transy answered the call from teachers in Woodford County who had identified the need for a program to help underrepresented boys gain access to college. It has since grown with funding the William R. Kenan Charitable Trust, most recently under the guidance of Te’Asia Martin, Transy’s assistant director of diversity and campus engagement, to include students in all seven Fayette County high schools.
“Our team has been grooming and developing this program to be the best it can be, and we are planning to serve our Fayette and Woodford county schools with the best of our resources,” Martin said on receiving the recognition. “I am excited and looking forward to what the 2019-20 year brings.”
The program fills an opportunity gap for students who have the academic capacity but often lack the information, resources and support to help them through the daunting college application process. Other students need the Pathway experience to help them understand which college is right for them.
“This program gives these students access to places they’ve never seen and things they’ve never done,” said Johnnie Johnson, interim vice president for enrollment and director of admissions. “We want them to have the right information and opportunities to make the right choice.”
Students participating in the program have several opportunities to visit to campus each year, during which students work with faculty, staff and students in the Transy community. They take part in mock interviews, improve their application essay and resume, sit in on a college class, and learn the ins and outs of financial aid.