Knox Junior Selected for Grad Prep Academy

March 22, 2013

Sean Hopkins '14Knox College junior Sean Hopkins is one of eight U.S. college students selected for the 2013 Grad Prep Academy, a project that prepares black male undergraduates for graduate study and research-related careers in education.

An educational studies major from Chicago, Illinois, Hopkins and the other seven Grad Prep Academy students will spend four days at the University of Pennsylvania campus. They will learn more about applying to graduate school and succeeding there, meet university faculty members and hear about their research projects, spend time with black male graduate students and alumni, and tour Philadelphia.

As another benefit of Grad Prep Academy, the students are awarded a four-week preparation course for the Graduate Record Exam, which is required for admission to most graduate programs. In addition, each Grad Prep Academy participant will be paired with a current black male Ph.D. student in education who will offer mentoring throughout the graduate school application process.

"It's a breathtaking opportunity," said Hopkins, who is minoring in anthropology and sociology. "It's so great because it's an opportunity for me to go and represent the College and represent the educational studies department here at Knox."

Hopkins said that interacting with Knox students, alumni, staff, and faculty helped him make it into the selective program. Assistant Professor in Educational Studies Stephen Schroth told Hopkins about the program. Hopkins also praised John Haslem, director of the Center for Teaching and Learning, for coaching him in writing when he was a first-year Knox student.

"My Knox experience overall has really provided a quality education, a quality education that's allowed me to believe and have faith that I can compete in a global society," Hopkins said.

He has a particular interest in urban education.

"I want to leave a legacy of high-quality work that will have provided opportunities for students of color at the K-12 and post-secondary education level," said Hopkins, who was inspired to consider a career in education after hearing President Barack Obama's first State of the Union address. "Ultimately, I would like to prepare teachers to work in urban environments which enable them to provide students the best opportunities for learning."