This fall, 32 freshmen will form the first cohort for Fostering Success, the newest IUPUI program to be funded by the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust. The program coordinator, Michael Kendall, has worked with Charlie Johnson, director of Scholar Support Programs, to develop the program and its curriculum, which is based around a transformative education model. Kendall speaks enthusiastically about the potential to impact students who are emancipated minors, have experienced housing insecurity, have dependents as minors, or have experienced foster care. He says, “When I heard that the program was looking for a coordinator, I jumped on it. I was one of the first applicants.”
Kendall spent the past five years of his career working for 21st Century Scholars. A former scholar himself, he helped a brand new site for the program get started in Terre Haute before acting as a program coordinator for 21st Century Scholars at IUPUI. He was already familiar with the concept for Fostering Success and its curriculum prior to its realization, having spent time discussing its possibilities with Johnson. Coordinating Fostering Success came naturally for Kendall, who says he’s “always been an educator.”
While his instincts to be an educator certainly help, his personal background also allows him to empathize with the students he works with. “Having been raised by a single mom and experiencing things that tend to come along with being from a low-income household, I understand. . . . Lived experience is pretty critical; I think a lot of my success with students is due to understanding where they’re coming from,” says Kendall.