Transfer Student/Graduate Says There’s A Place For Everyone At UC
An injury first led to Kara Mate’s transfer to UC, but she says her discoveries in and out of the classroom are what kept her on her pathway to graduation.
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Dottie Stover
Kara Mate is launching a career in service after the University of Cincinnati Commencement Ceremony on Dec. 15. Mate, a 22-year-old resident of Hamilton, is graduating from the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences
(A&S) with a bachelor’s degree (BS) in psychology. After Commencement, she plans to join the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) in Perry Point, Md., to provide service to communities throughout that region.
A graduate of Madeira High School, Mate says she transferred to UC after an ACL injury caused her to give up a ROTC scholarship to another university, but she adds that her exploration of UC’s student organizations built her campus connections that kept her here. She joins the increasing number of students who are transferring to the “Hottest College in America.”
Last fall, UC reported 1,970 new, undergraduate transfer students, which was up 16.8 percent from autumn 2011. Lisa Holstrom, director of the UC Transfer and Lifelong Learning Center,
attributes the growing numbers of transfer students to a reenergized campus. “Students are more aware that something exciting is happening at UC, whether it’s our quality academics, exciting athletics events or services to students, including our new veterans center
and military-friendly rating,
|(From left) Kim Fulbright (Women's Ctr.), Kara Mate, Rebecca Lehman (Women's Ctr.)|
Mate says outside the classroom, she found a home at UC through her involvement with the university’s student organizations, which number more than 300. During her junior year at UC, she was a participant in the UC Women’s Center program, Activists Coming Together (ACT)
, a year-long program to build feminist activists and leaders. Students must apply for acceptance into the program.
Last year, she participated in the V-Day University of Cincinnati presentation of the award-winning play, “The Vagina Monologues,” as part of a UC Women’s Center sponsored fundraiser to end violence against women and girls. The play is presented around Valentine’s Day as part of the global anti-violencre movement called V-Day. “It’s an empowering cause for women around the world, and I truly believe in the message,” says Mate. “This year, the UC Women’s Center will be participating in the One Billion Rising campaign
, marking the 15th anniversary worldwide of V-Day activities. It’s an amazing opportunity for women and men to get involved.”
Last summer, she was among the inaugural students who participated in an intensive, week-long retreat under the Racial Awareness Program
(RAPP), called Accelerating Racial Justice. The program strives to build students’ understanding of racial justice and inclusive leadership.
“Kara is a great model for transfer students as well as students who began at UC,” says Rebecca Lehman, program coordinator for RAPP. “Transfer students have a different orientation experience, they aren’t as likely to have a learning community experience, and they can often feel disconnected from the wealth of co-curricular experiences that UC offers. By getting involved, Kara exemplified the spirit and power of integrated learning.”
Mate is also among UC’s first students in five decades to graduate under a semester calendaring system, which took effect in the fall, as UC joined other Ohio public universities in converting to semesters in accordance with the University System of Ohio’s strategic plan for higher education. “I think semesters establish a stronger connection with our classes and professors than academic quarters, simply because we have more time together. I enjoyed it,” she says.
She says that moving to Maryland will be a big step. The longest that she has been away from home was after she worked for a couple of months for a non-profit organization in San Diego. However, she says she’s looking forward to the challenge.
“The people I’ve met through the UC Women’s Center and RAPP really opened up my eyes to the UC community and showed me that there is a place here for everyone. I think that’s the big discovery that I’ll be taking with me,” says Mate.
“Everyone is scared when they first come to college, but they’re not alone. Everyone here is searching for who they are and what they want to do. I’m not sure what I’m going to be yet, but that’s not such a bad thing,” she says. UC Women’s CenterRacial Awareness Program (RAPP)
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