Kenzie Bryant on Her Journey at Miami Hamilton

Kenzie Bryant at Miami HamiltonHaving graduated from a parochial all-girls school, the culture shock that hit Kenzie Bryant in college inspired a new way of looking at the world.

Kenzie grew up in Fairfield but went to McAuley High School, commuting the 30 minute drive each day. Although it was a mostly homogenous population, she valued that education, to be sure. "I even went to Catholic elementary school, so I was wearing the plaid skirt from kindergarten all the way through high school," she said, but the world looked a lot different at Miami University Hamilton.

She is a second-generation MUH student. Her mother graduated here in 2006 as a non-traditional student and knew the value of the regional campus education. "When I got here, I saw blue hair and facial piercings and everybody was so different from an all-girls, predominantly white high school. I was actually the only white person in some of my classes.

She started as a fine arts major, acting on a passion for painting and drawing she developed in high school.

"I was really introverted in high school," she said, "but when I got here I started getting involved with student organizations and orientation stuff, and I realized I liked leading people, and I didn't know I would be into that until I got to college. In high school, she had been the president of the art club, but that "was just kids doing art," Kenzie said. "I didn't lead anything. It was more just like hanging out and watching artsy films."

At the Hamilton Campus, she joined three different student organizations and took four student jobs. "My first job was with the office of student activities," she said. "That opened so many doors for me." Being exposed to a variety of offices and activities, she found out who needed help, and since they were all willing to work around her class schedule, she took on all that she could. "Nobody from McAuley goes to Miami Hamilton, so I had to make brand new friends," she said. "Joining student organizations and having student jobs and engaging in class really helped me do that. Now I know just about everybody."

She also began to reconsider her major and her career options. "I love the arts but I wasn't sure what to do with my career," she said. "I just knew I liked to draw and I thought a job would find me."

By working through the student activities office, my boss told me that I could actually work in student affairs the rest of my life and be working with college students to engage them and get them involved. "I was like, 'Sign me up. That sounds amazing.'"

She switched to the BIS program to get a more well-rounded degree, but also focus on organizational leadership as a concentration, with addition emphasis on family, gender and society, and eventually hopes to get a masters in student affairs. "That way, I could work with diverse students and know something about their backgrounds," she said. "I see that even with the amount of diversity here, we can come together, see each other's differences and appreciate them," Kenzie said. "We have pride in our campus and we can come together in class and engage and learn together."