Travel has undoubtedly changed for everyone this past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the first time in 30 years, IRT recruited 100% online this past season through zoom information sessions, monthly webinars, and consistent emails to schools, community partners, college access programs, and prospective candidates. Last year, IRT recruited on campus at 32 institutions and this year conducted 64 online webinars. While Recruitment and Admission Programs Specialist, Monica Reum, says meeting students face to face during her on-campus visits is one of the best parts of her job, she also reflected and shared “In a time where things felt like they were on fire left and right in the world, I find peace with IRT in knowing that we doubled our recruitment efforts and reached students in ways we normally would not have.”
Our engagement with our new programs and institutions highlights our commitment to social justice. This year, we witnessed our inequities exposed by the pandemic and pursuit of racial justice. We seek to expand access to the IRT and increase equity. As such, we are excited to build relationships with women’s colleges, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and other programs that share our commitment. We are eager to admit this year’s 2021 cohort!
Newly recruited institutions and programs include but are not limited to:
By Monica Reum, IRT Recruitment and Admission Programs Specialist
This year, we focused on transparency when explaining the IRT application components to prospective students. Knowing that some applicants were unclear and sometimes even overwhelmed by the application process, I hosted monthly webinars to serve as a support to prospective students. Research shows that often, first-generation college students tend not to reach out for help; therefore, my strategy was to provide an alternative avenue to answer student questions if they were hesitant to call or email directly. The webinar series covers application topics such as how to secure recommendations or how to have a successful interview. The sessions have helped to demystify the intricacies of the application process, expose students to some best practices and give them an inside look at the IRT application process.
This year, the IRT committed itself to serve more students and just admitted our biggest class! We will assist 121 students through the Ph.D. process, and 45 students through the master’s degree process. In sum, we will support 166 students. Nearly half of our class identifies as Black or African American, 37% identify as Latinx, 18% identify as Asian, and 1% of our cohort identify as Native American, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander.
Within the past year, our number of institutions increased from 85 to 100! This increase to 100 institutions would not have been possible without our alumni, who hosted information sessions on their campuses — THANK YOU! Over the past three years, we also doubled the number of HBCU institutions. We hope to build this trend and aim to increase it in three years. If you attended an HBCU, or are currently working at an HBCU as a faculty member or administrator, I encourage you to reach out to me regarding ways we can collaborate to ensure we can identify and recruit additional students at HBCU’s.
On Tuesday, December 4, 2018, Leislie Godo-Solo, IRT education programs specialist, traveled to Brown University to conduct an IRT informational session for prospective students.
Later that evening, Leislie and Asabe Poloma, assistant dean for international students and associate director, Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, Office of the Dean of the College, organized a dinner for IRT alumni near Brown’s campus.
This past October, IRT alumni welcomed about 20 prospective applicants during an information session at the University of Michigan. IRT alumni shared their perspectives and insight into the program.
The IRT panel included the following:
Aesha Mustafa, IRT ’16—Aesha is a 2nd year Ph.D. student in Higher Education at Michigan State University. Her research interests explore higher education’s role in promoting students to develop a propensity toward civic engagement, diversity, equity, and inclusion. Aesha hopes that higher education institutions can impart all students, regardless of academic discipline, with the tools to respectively and critically engage in an increasingly multicultural world.
Denise Galarza Sepúlveda, IRT ’91—Denise is the Director of the University’s office of Community-Engaged Academic Learning (CEAL) where she works with faculty to create transformative learning opportunities for undergrads and trains future faculty in community-based learning. Prior, she was a professor of Latin American Literature for over 10 years at Lafayette College in PA. She has received national and university awards for her research, her teaching and her mentorship of underrepresented students. She also volunteers every Saturday, teaching Latino children in the ENL literacy program.