The College of Health Science welcomed the KY YMCA Black Achievers program to Eastern Kentucky University on Saturday. High school freshmen through seniors interested in the health sciences or a health career were invited to the program for a full day of immersive experiences.

The KY YMCA Black Achievers program is an organization that serves youth, grades 6-12, and was designed to develop future leadership skills and encourage youth to pursue higher educational and career goals.

Founded in 1985, Black Achievers supports youth in academics, mentoring and post-secondary success with help from dedicated business and community volunteers who support the program.

“This is the first time (that I'm aware of) the Black Achievers are coming to Eastern Kentucky University. I’m the health cluster lead for the Central Kentucky YMCA Black Achievers program,” said Monica Mundy, assistant professor of public health. “We have students come from Lexington and surrounding areas in central Kentucky and it's a college readiness program, and then part of that is to experience college visits.”

Mundy was one of many coordinators for this event.

The coordinators welcomed students at 9 a.m. with an agenda that included tours, hands-on demonstrations, activities, lunch in Case Dining Hall, connecting with the campus community, and conversations with EKU President David McFaddin, Dannie Moore, Vice President strategic initiatives and chief diversity, equity, and Inclusion Officer and David Coleman, executive director in the EKU honors program. The event concluded with a college fair style event where students had the chance to talk to representatives from the College of Health Sciences, Financial Aid, Student Life, the Rec Center and more.

“This is the first year we’ve done the Black Achievers event and we’re really excited about how this is turning out today,” said Colleen Schneck, interim dean for the College of Health Sciences.

“The cross-campus collaboration on this event was incredibly vital to the success and this opportunity. We could not have made this event possible without the resources that the EKU honors program, Center for Inclusive Excellence and Global Engagement and President McFaddin has showed and provided our team and this experience,” said Jamie Woolrey, recruitment and retention coordinator for the College of Health Sciences.

“The Black Achievers event means to me a way to get more diverse at EKU and to help students see all the good opportunities that EKU has to offer. I feel like it's a great opportunity for the College of Health Sciences to get more exposure, so overall I feel like this would be a great impact to have students come to Eastern in the near future,” said MaKaela Dismukes, graduate assistant for health promotion and administration.

Mundy did not have many opportunities to attend events like this before she pursued higher education. She wanted to give minority students a chance to experience events like Black Achievers so they could meet people like them. Mundy said the event gives students an opportunity to explore programs they may have an interest in before attending a higher education institution.

“I think a lot of times students of color and minority students don't always see all the opportunities that's possible in every institution … that was something I experienced,” said Mundy. “When I decided that I wanted to work with Black Achievers, I knew that being able to show these students what I wasn't able to see and letting them see all the opportunities, all the options that are in front of them was my number one priority. I’m very thankful for Dr. Schneck, Dr. Ballard, Jamie Woolrey and everyone that helped pull all of this together.”

To learn more about the KY YMCA Black Achievers program, visit https://www.ymcacky.org/programs/education-enrichment/black-achievers.

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