Getting to Know Kristen F.!

Each month, Fostering Success Michigan features a Student Spotlight that celebrates the accomplishments and achievements of students with experience in foster care who are in one of 12 higher education support programs in Michigan. Do you know a student to spotlight? We would love to hear from you!

Meet Kristen F.! Kristen is a student and scholar at the University of Michigan- Ann Arbor. Kristen is very passionate about many things and truly enjoys learning. We recently asked Kristen to share with us her various accomplishments and her future plans... Here is what Kristen had to say!

FSM: Please tell us a little about your experience representing Michigan and the Blavin Scholars Program in Washington DC as well as other accomplishments or involvement you have at U of M.
KF: I (obviously) get this question quite a lot. Really it was an incredible experience. The trip consisted of myself and nine other graduated seniors who were going into their first year of college. Of the ten of us, myself and one other lady were from foster care. I had a busy itinerary. I arrived in DC late in the evening and met up with the other foster care student and a specialist in Foster Club. The following morning was the big day. I woke up early to meet with Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan (along with the other nine students). Some of us had the chance to share our stories, I did not in the main conference, however afterwards I had a chance to speak with him before he retired to other work. After this event, us ten headed to the White House to meet with the First Lady. We spoke with her for roughly an hour and a half, each sharing our stories and inquiring about anything on our minds. She gave a motivational pep talk and asked us to share our stories to show anyone can overcome adversity. It was incredible and I was honored. As far as my accomplishments or involvement at U of M, I consider my student status to be an accomplishment. I am hoping to become involved with some activities in theater too.

FSM: What do you hope to do after graduation? Do you have a specific area of passion?
KF: Recently I have taken a great liking to Astronomy. I am hoping to pursue some type of career involving space and math. I would consider many things my area of passion though. In many instances writing is my passion (I have about four serious book ideas that I am trying to work on) and funnily enough learning is too. I think that is why I enjoy the topic of astronomy because it explores a lot of unknowns. Hopefully after graduation I can get a job and if not I would probably go to grad school to get my masters. I am not quite sure as of now though.  

FSM: What can professionals do to better serve students with experience in foster care?
KF: I think the Blavin Scholars Program is a prime example of what professionals can do to better serve students with experience in foster care. The program not only provides the much needed financial aid, but also the mental and emotional support for students. A lot of what happens before, during, and after foster care includes an endless supply of mental stress. In the Blavin program we are provided coaches, mentors, workshops, educational opportunities like aided study abroad, many networking opportunities, and opportunities for cheap and fun social activities. All of this really better serves us to feel supported through our experiences at the University.  

FSM: What advice do you have for students thinking about going to college?
KF: Do it! I mean, regardless of where, when, or for how long, you should definitely go. Education is so important not just in expanding your mind, but in allowing you so many opportunities to better your future. Make sure to keep yourself focused on on main goal, but never forget to reward yourself for the steps you take to get there. College is more than grades, it is an experience. As long as you believe in yourself and look for a positive support group in the form of friends, mentors, professors, a teddy bear, tumblr, or anything really-- your experience at any college will be a good one and most definitely worth your time.

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Fostering Success Michigan is a program of Educate Tomorrow that aims to increase access and success in higher education and post-college careers for youth with experience in foster care. Learn how you can contribute to building a holistic network that insulates (i.e., strengthens protective factors and reduces risks) the education to career "pipeline." 

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