Make the Best Out of Your College Experience by Getting Involved!
By Kennedy Campbell
My name is Kennedy Campbell, and I am a senior interdisciplinary health science major with a Health Diversity Concentration at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. I was featured on Season 1, Episode 5 of The College Tour with my university. Since then, I have been working toward my Bachelor of Science. As a first-generation college student, I didn’t really know what to expect going to such a big university as the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. With 30,000 undergraduate students, I was inspired by motivated individuals who were very involved on campus. I quickly became involved with the Office of Minority Student Affairs (OMSA). OMSA offers tutoring services and advising services for students. As a pre-medical student, I received tutoring for biology and chemistry, which was very helpful academically.
In addition, I attended office hours and participated in study groups with my classmates to better understand the course content. Once I set a foundation for my classes, I could explore my extracurricular interests. Because UIUC is a Research I institution, I became involved in research, particularly with underrepresented minority groups and health concerns. I have worked as a Research Assistant at my home institution at the Laboratory for Emotion and Stress Assessment. I have also been able to participate in Research Programs at Rush University Medical Center and the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.
In addition to these research programs, I have been able to participate in internships such as the Summer Health Professions Education Program at the University of California Los Angeles David Geffen School of Medicine and the Emergency Department at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. In Chicago, I also work with The Pilsen Promise Project, a nonprofit, to give back to residents in the Pilsen neighborhood. We give grocery gift certificates for families to purchase groceries at La Casa Del Pueblo, a local grocery store in Pilsen, and we stock the neighborhood fridge at the Plaza Tenochtitlán. Some of my most memorable college experiences were my work with the Cultural Centers and Student Organizations. La Casa Cultural Latina is the Latinx cultural house on our campus. La Casa has so many resources for students and empowers students through programming and other outreach events! La Casa hosts Lunch @ La Casa every Thursday, which is a Lunch and Learn opportunity for students. In addition to this, they showcase Latinx Student Organizations to get involved with.
Last semester, I founded the Pre-Health Latino Undergraduate Society as part of the Latino Medical Student Association- the first undergraduate chapter of the organization at my university. La Casa has helped tremendously with our organization and continues to support student-run organizations. The Bruce D. Nesbitt African-American Cultural Center, or BNAACC, is another cultural center I work closely with! My segment of the College Tour was actually filmed here! The BNAACC also hosts a Lunch and Learn opportunity called Food for the Soul on Wednesdays. In addition to this, the BNAACC hosts events with local high schools! As a Shelley Ambassador for the BNAACC, I have spoken on panels with high school students and shared insight on my classes and experience being a student at UIUC!
Whether I am just stopping by to print some documents or studying at our Study Tables, you will likely find me at the BNAACC! I have also enjoyed the leadership roles I have taken on as a college student! I’ve enjoyed being the President of Mentors in Medicine! This academic year, we have over 100 members in the Mentorship Program! Founded in 2020, we have come a long way in just two years! I worked as a resident advisor for two years here as well at Pennsylvania Avenue Residence (PAR).
Lastly, I am a part of the Medicine Scholars Program at the University of Illinois and Chicago (UIC) College of medicine. I love being a Medicina Scholar because I get to meet great individuals who love learning about medicine, public health, and health disparities. This year, I was elected and will be serving on the 2022 Homecoming Court. I am looking forward to my senior year and applying to graduate programs. I will be graduating in May 2023 and matriculating into a graduate program.
College is a great time to learn about yourself and how you want to give back to your community. I am incredibly grateful for all of the opportunities I have been given. If there’s one piece of advice I would give to you all is to continue to follow your path. As high school seniors, you have an amazing future ahead of you. Each and every one of you are resilient and will be successful in college. I encourage you to find your best fit in a college by visiting, speaking to current students, and learning about their mission, as I found mine. The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign recognizes impact, innovation, inclusion, and individuality as the Power of I.