KEEP is one of the premier programs in the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The program was developed out of elements of the Silverweed Expository Writing course through a grant from the Silverweed Foundation and an HHMI grant that provided funding to develop a quantitative reasoning course. KEEP was piloted during the 2006-07 academic year with a class of 12 scholars. That fall, the Board of Trustees approved a fully funded program and, in 2012, doubled the program to include 24 scholars.
KEEP is a selective program aimed at underrepresented students of color and first-generation college students. KEEP scholars represent a broad range of curricular and co-curricular interests and also possess strong academic and social leadership potential. KEEP scholars include, but are not limited to, individuals of various backgrounds like, race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, physical and/or mental disability, age, religion, medical condition, veteran status, marital status, or any other characteristic protected by law.
KEEP participants attend two three-week intensive summer sessions before their first year at Kenyon. Scholars attend two credit-bearing courses, one in expository writing and one in data analysis. The courses focus on practicing and solidifying leadership skills: verbal communication, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and effective teamwork. During the academic year, activities include resume-building workshops, social gatherings, and regular one-on-one meetings with the KEEP Director.
KEEP scholars receive a stipend over the course of the summer, contingent upon successful completion of the summer program. Throughout the first year, scholars receive two additional stipends to be used for books. To receive the stipend, students must actively participate in KEEP. In subsequent years, KEEP offers programs, workshops, employment and graduate school advising, and networking opportunities to further leadership development.