Dear Inaugural McKearn Fellows,
We thoroughly enjoyed meeting you last week and having the opportunity to spend time with each of you, meet the significant mentors in the program and to be part of the alumni support that you are now experiencing firsthand.
When we started to design this fellowship program, we very much wanted to create a more enriched, more varied and more world-balanced educational experience. You already have a great classroom and laboratory environment – we wanted to bring you learning opportunities and experience that will be important as you move forward from NIU. Although the length of this program was a challenge – basically just eight weeks, give or take, we hope that this program will serve as a springboard for you to continue to seek to deepen your experience and learning. Opportunities which can serve you well in your soon-to-be-launched career aspirations.
As you head into the waning days of the program and you are stressing out to complete everything and to deliver the high quality that you hold yourselves to, we hope that you are also gaining experience and confidence in newfound resources, collaborations and personal toolkits / principles that will help to you achieve things you never dreamed possible. Remember, each of the alumni mentors that you met told you that they never expected to succeed in life as they did. Believe us…we never did either. You are starting out with so much more – continue, challenge, inspire and thrive.
We will be setting forth in the next stage of this fellowship program and your experience and learnings will be very helpful as we craft plans with your mentors at NIU and in the alumni base. Imagine what a semester-based program might be like and I think we’re all working in a zone that no educational experience has ever offered.
It was a pure pleasure to meet each of you and to hear about your projects and perspectives. We eagerly anticipate the completion of your projects and hearing from you in the future.
Our very best to each of you,
John and Cassandra McKearn