Southeast Missouri State University

McNair Program Helps Student to Achieve Goals


Kenndis Joy is an active, involved undergraduate at Southeast who embodies the idea of the well-rounded, liberal arts student. She comes from a family of seven in Jennings, Mo., and will be among the first generation in her family to receive a college degree.

A psychology major and a McNair scholar, Kenndis is a student with definitive goals and work ethic that pushes her to study hard and set high standards for herself. She praises the McNair program as “the best program ever to help achieve graduate school goals.” She credits her student support services counselor for encouraging her to keep focused on her grades and class work, something that helped her become a conscientious student with an admirable work ethic.

Kenndis is now planning to apply for the clinical psychology graduate program at Loyola University in Chicago. She is already gaining practical experience that will help her in her graduate studies by working at the Cottonwood Treatment Center in Cape Girardeau, where she is a psychiatric aide.

“It can be a pretty difficult job at times,” she says, “but it is also one of the most exciting jobs I’ve ever had. From one day to the next, you never know what to expect, and you gain a real attachment to the kids.”

While at Southeast, Kenndis has taken full advantage of all the University has to offer in terms of extra-curricular experiences. She was awarded first place in the Student Research Conference, was crowned Miss Black and Gold at the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. Xi Gamma Chapter’s Miss Black & Gold Pageant in December 2004 and has had the opportunity to be a mentor with the Office of Minority Student Programs.

Reflecting upon the years she has spent as a student at Southeast, Kenndis has some sage advice for future Southeast freshmen.

“Start off your freshman year taking school seriously, and don’t take it lightly,” she says. “I know from experience that the excitement of freshman year can be a little overwhelming, but the hardest thing ever is pulling yourself out of the hole that you dig during your freshman year. If you come in doing well, it can only get better from there.”