Program expands minority focus

High school seniors from the area and neighboring states journey to NKU to see if it’s their college of choice. With its Multicultural Visitation Program, the university looks to improve its appeal.

The program, also known as MVP, is held twice a year on campus for prospective seniors from area schools.

Many of the minority students recruited for the program travel by a bus that is sent from Louisville to NKU, but recently, NKU invited students from Dayton and Columbus to increase diversity.

“Originally, the program was targeted more toward African American students,” said Gennine Brewer, assistant director of Admissions. “But when the mission of the institution changed to provide for more multiculturalism, it made sense to invite other minority students.”

Brewer, who’s been the primary coordinator of MVP since 1999, said that the program is a great opportunity for minority students to get involved in college and feel comfortable around other students with similar interests.

The program, which starts at 9 a.m. and ends at 3:30 p.m., gives students a chance to tour the campus, learn about the academics NKU offers, and even have a question and answer session with current students.

“It’s just an opportunity to showcase the university to the students and their parents,” Brewer said.

Irelynne Estevez joined the team in 2001 as an admissions counselor and has since helped form the program. To her, the program has been a success, and she finds it to be very influential to students.

“I’m very happy with the turnout that we had on Dec. 3 because I think that when the program started, we struggled a little,” Estevez said. “This last one was the largest program we’ve ever had. I think we had about 75 students compared to last year’s 15.”

Part of the reason for the program’s success is the growing area of recruitment and the people involved in the program. In 2004, one person recruited students, whereas now three people are recruiting, according to NKU’s Web site.

Between Jan. 15, 2005 and Jan. 14, 2006, the number of black applicants rose 38 percent, the number of Asian applicants is up 36 percent, and the largest growing minority group of applicants is Latino, which has increased 170 percent since last year, according to Brewer.

Tunice Masden, who will be attending NKU in the fall, was at the Dec. 3 program. She said everyone made her feel very welcome, and she’s looking forward to attending the university.

“I feel great about going to NKU next year,” Masden said. “When I got there, the school was all set up, and I got a hug from some people.”

According to Estevez, MVP is a great program that helps minority students, especially those who haven’t mastered English, and it gives a great opportunity to get in touch with others in the same situation.

“A lot of the students have never even been to a college campus,” Estevez said. “It lets them see that this is possible. College is possible for them.”