TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — A University of Alabama graduate student will receive a professional and financial boost to continue helping underserved minority populations reach their goals in higher education.
The National Board for Certified Counselors Minority Fellowship Program’s Foundation recently selected Kenya G. Bledsoe, a UA doctoral student in the counselor education and supervision program, for its Minority Fellowship Program.
Through the program, Bledsoe will receive $20,000 and training to support her education and facilitate her service to underserved minority populations.
Bledsoe will later learn the guidelines for the award and how monies can be distributed, but she’s keen to implement College Admissions Made Possible, a Birmingham-based non-profit college access organization that empowers students to overcome obstacles to college admissions for students in her hometown of Philadelphia, Mississippi.
Bledsoe is interim executive director of CAMP. She’d previously worked as a professional school counselor for approximately 15 years.
“I’m a first-generation college student, and CAMP is dear to my heart,” Bledsoe said. “I’m very passionate about how I want to serve students, and I’m happy to be in a position to empower and equip students with the necessary tools to go to college or enter the military or workforce.”
Bledsoe is one of 23 doctoral counseling students across the country who have received the award. Each recipient will receive leadership training and collaboration opportunities, which NBCC hopes strengthens counseling infrastructure in secondary education, particularly to underserved populations.
As a first-generation college student from a small town in Mississippi, Bledsoe had limited access to mental health counseling and academic resources growing up. Bledsoe said students in underserved communities continue to face similar challenges.
Through CAMP, she direct efforts to provide four core services: ACT test prep, individualized counseling, student/family workshops, and college tours and fairs. In addition, CAMP has also grown to provide training for teachers, counselors and administrators across Alabama. CAMP worked with more than 3,000 students over the last academic year.
The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.