As a Kinesiology major at Michigan State University, Shokhari Tate had opportunities to explore multiple careers centered on improving health and well-being for others.
When he volunteered in a refugee camp during a study abroad trip to Greece, he witnessed deplorable health conditions. And that’s when he first imagined his dream: to open his own community health clinic.
“That was really shocking for me,” said Tate, who is graduating in spring 2020. “So, when I came back, I said I want to provide health care to people who may not have the resources to pay for it.”
But there was something else that shocked him. When he searched for scholarships available to MSU Kinesiology students, he saw that only six scholarships established within the College of Education were dedicated to Kinesiology. There are more than 1,300 undergraduates in the major.
“This is disappointing because our students are going out into their communities and contributing meaningfully to the promotion of well-being,” said Alan Smith, chairperson of the Department of Kinesiology.
DOUBLING THE IMPACT
Thankfully, this is starting to change through the generosity of alumni and friends. For Give Green Day in December 2019, the College of Education chose to focus on fundraising for Kinesiology scholarships.
Three people pledged to match funds donated, including Smith as well as Justin Grinnell and John Haas, both alumni and donors. The goal was to raise $5,000 to create five scholarships for the new Kinesiology Scholars Fund.
The college actually brought in double that goal, raising $10,491 within one 24-hour period. Some additional monies were also secured after Give Green Day. These funds will support up to 12 students this year, with each receiving $1,000.
Each scholarship will help ease the strain of paying tuition and allow recipients to focus on their learning. For Kinesiology majors, having financial support can free up time to experience hands-on research in labs, study abroad or volunteer in their chosen field. Seniors, in particular, put their knowledge into action during the required “KIN-ternship” at a wide variety of locations, but these valuable field experiences are rarely paid positions.
The hope is to grow the Kinesiology Scholars Fund and, even more importantly, to establish more endowments dedicated to providing Kinesiology scholarships into perpetuity.
“It’s everything to us,” said Tate, who received one of the pre-existing endowed scholarships for KIN students, the Walter C. and Patricia J. Mack Endowed Scholarship. “One thousand dollars, $2,000, that can make the difference between somebody having to drop out for a semester or possibly getting their degree earlier.
“Every bit that they give is appreciated, and I just want to say thank you.”
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Gifts in support of Kinesiology help a fast-growing group of students launch careers dedicated to improving health and well-being for future generations.
Donations can be made to the Kinesiology Scholars Fund, online via go.msu.edu/KSF or by phone. Call (517) 884-1000 and use allocation code A70403.