Clemson University has numerous programs to reach South Carolina’s underrepresented students, inspire them to set their sights on higher education, support them during their college years, and help them land jobs after graduating. One of these programs is Emerging Scholars, which aims to establish a college-going culture among selected program participants through academic enrichment, developing leadership skills, and increasing college preparedness.
Rising high school sophomores in the program attend a weeklong session on the Clemson campus during the summer. They take reading, writing and math classes and participate in team-building exercises. The next summer, it’s a two-week session, and the following summer, there’s a three-week session before their last year of high school. The goal is not to lead students to Clemson, but to any college.
Iman Johnson went through the program as a student at Allendale High School. She went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the University of South Carolina – Upstate in 2018, and then returned to Clemson as a staff member. We asked her to share her journey by answering five questions:
What are you currently doing?
I am currently the program assistant and community outreach coordinator for the Office of College Preparation and Outreach at Clemson. I work with both the Emerging Scholars and Clemson Career Workshop programs.
How did you find out about the Emerging Scholars program?
I found out about Emerging Scholars from Jason Combs, who is now an associate director for ES. Jason and I are both from Allendale, South Carolina, and he recommended the program to me because he was also an Emerging Scholar and thought I would be a great fit for the program.
What was your experience like?
I loved the summers I spent on campus during my high school years. I learned a lot about the college experience and even more about myself and my abilities. I established friendships and mentorships with people that I keep in contact with today. We weren’t just students in a college-access program; we were a family.
How has it benefited you?
Before attending the Emerging Scholars program, going to college was a goal, but the skills and foundational tools I picked up while on campus helped make that goal a reality. Every class and activity we participated in pushed us out of our comfort zone and challenged us, and even though I was nervous, I rose to the occasion. Being in the program gave us the courage and know-how to make those next steps confidently.
What’s next for you?
With the inspirational work that we do in our office and the people I have met through working at Clemson, I want to further my education. Perhaps there is a master’s degree with my name on it from Clemson in my near future.
Clemson Corner is a bimonthly column on all things Clemson University. From individuals reaching new heights, research breakthroughs and discoveries, or events that can bring us all together.