College was a new place for Andy Ho and his family.
Neither of his parents attended college, and Ho wasn’t sure how he was going to navigate the world of higher education without some guidance.
But he found Opportunity Scholars, and now the senior is set to graduate with a degree in management after diversifying his business education with internships at places such as the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., the Utah State Legislature and the Utah Attorney General’s Office. Those are experiences he knows he wouldn’t have had without Opportunity Scholars and its staff, such as Director Rich Kaufusi.
“Rich is one of the best guys I know. He’s like another parent. He kept me going during the low times at school, and he encouraged me to keep up my grades and to do the internships I was interested in,” Ho said. “Opportunity Scholars was the support and structure I needed to help guide me through the college experience.”
Opportunity Scholars is celebrating its 20th anniversary at a celebration on Thursday, April 6 at the Hilton Salt Lake City Center with a reception at 6 p.m. and remarks at 7 p.m. The event will bring together current students such as Ho and alumni who have participated in the program over the past two years.
“Our Opportunity Scholars bring a unique and diverse perspective to the David Eccles School of Business, and we are excited to get to celebrate their accomplishments from graduation to excelling in a variety of careers,” Kaufusi said.
Kaufusi and Latu Kinikini, program manager for Opportunity Scholars, form tight bonds with their students, providing Opportunity Scholars with their cell phone numbers on the first day of the program, and answering calls and texts day and night. Both Kaufusi and Kinikini are first-generation college students, so they are able to share the experience of being new to the college experience.
“We really are here to support students throughout their time in school. Many of these students parents are very supportive of them going to college, but they don’t have the context on how to navigate the system or help their students through certain challenges. That’s what we’re here to offer,” Kinikini said.
About Opportunity Scholars
The Opportunity Scholars program provides retention resources such as tutors, mentors, internships, advising, career-services, service-learning projects, community outreach, networking opportunities, counseling, financial assistance and anytime access to the program director.
The program also contributes to the educational experience of all students at the Eccles School by introducing students with diverse backgrounds and experiences into the academic setting.
In order to qualify for the program, students must meet these requirements:
- First-Generation: Student’s parents have not attended or graduated from a four-year higher education institution. You are first in your immediate family to attend college.
- Underrepresented: Student is from a social group that is most often underrepresented in higher education.
- Need: You have a demonstrated financial need as evidenced through federal student aid.
- Residency: Student is a citizen or permanent resident of the United States.
- GPA: Student’s grade point average is greater than 3.0. Continued eligibility in the program is dependent on maintaining a GPA greater than 3.0.
About the David Eccles School of Business
The Eccles School is synonymous with ‘doing.’ The Eccles experience provides a world-class business education with a unique, entrepreneurial focus on real-world scenarios where students put what they learn into practice long before graduation. Founded in 1917 and educating more than 6,000 students annually, the University of Utah David Eccles School of Business offers eight undergraduate majors, four MBAs, seven other graduate programs, a Ph.D. in seven areas and executive education curricula. The School is also home to nine institutes, centers and initiatives that deliver academic research and support an ecosystem of entrepreneurship and innovation. For more information, visit Eccles.Utah.edu or call 801-581-7676.