High school student selected for Emerging Rural Leaders Program at UChicago

Community Author: University of Chicago
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Katelyn Amero | Contributed
Katelyn Amero | Contributed

MAPLETON – Katelyn Amero, currently a senior at Presque Isle High School, was selected as an Emerging Rural Leader through the UChicago Empower Initiative, which resulted in an all-expense paid trip to Chicago to attend a three-week Biotechnology for the 21st Century Course earlier this summer.

Last year, the University of Chicago announced its decision to increase access for a wide range of students through the UChicago Empower Initiative – an enhanced admissions process with increased financial aid and programming – the 2019-20 incoming class reflects an enrollment of students from underrepresented backgrounds. This included an increase in rural students.

“UChicago designed Empower based on our theory that more students of intellectual promise would seek higher education if we removed key barriers for applying to and attending college,” said John W. Boyer, dean of the College. “We are pleased with the initial response, which validates the importance of maintaining the work of Empower. We look forward to welcoming our incoming class of scholars in the fall and providing additional resources for more students of diverse backgrounds and geographies to achieve their academic and career aspirations.”

This year, the University is expanding Empower with enhanced programming specific to Empower’s pledge to rural communities. Beginning this month, the College will expand support for rural students and high school counselors with its new UChicago Emerging Rural Leaders Program. The program is made possible by University Trustee Byron D. Trott, AB ’81, MBA’82 and his wife, Tina, longtime supporters of the University of Chicago and advocates of increasing college access for rural students.

The intent of the program is to reduce barriers to college for rural students and families by offering on-campus programming, mentoring, and financial aid that enables more rural students to pursue higher education at UChicago and other selective colleges and universities. In developing the programming and cultural activities, UChicago worked with rootEd Alliance, a collaborative, philanthropic effort addressing the most challenging obstacles to college and career success for students in rural America.

“Students’ economic resources and geographic location should not inhibit their access to higher education,” said James G. Nondorf, dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at the University of Chicago. “Through the Emerging Rural Leaders Program, we will empower more rural students to realize college is attainable, experience it first-hand at no cost and pursue enrollment with an understanding of the application process.”

Amero attended the component of the Emerging Rural Leaders Program that provided a full-tuition scholarship for high school Juniors from rural areas to attend a three-week UChicago summer session focused on individual academic areas of excellence and navigating the college application progress. During the session, Amero resided in one of the dormitories, attended the college-level class daily and completed the required homework. She was selected for the Biotechnology for the 21st Century Course as her education and achievements have been a prerequisite to her career of choice, which is the medical field. While at UChicago, Amero also attended a class about writing college
application essays.

Amero stated that, “Attending UChicago’s Summer Session was definitely an unforgettable, once in a lifetime experience. I am very thankful for the Emerging Rural Leaders Program as it allowed me to experience and prepare for college life, explore the university and discover the amazing City of Chicago,” said Amero.  Katelyn Amero is the daughter of Scott and Laurie Amero of Mapleton.

For more information on the UChicago Emerging Rural Leaders Program or to determine eligibility, please visit summer.uchicago.edu. For information on Empower, please visit collegeadmissions.uchicago.edu.


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