For graduate student Kyra Yon, the daughter of a military father, the word “inferior” has never been part of her vocabulary. As the Department of Health Science’s first Diversity Fellow, she is pursuing a Master of Science in Health Science and hopes to earn a job with the State Health Department, at the state or county level. Kyra is no stranger to Brockport, having earned an undergraduate degree from Brockport in 1986. When the time came to go back to college for an advanced degree, she returned to Brockport to further her goal to make children’s health a priority for this country.
As an undergraduate student, Kyra was at first unsure of her future. She took a variety of courses before she found a major that fit her aspirations. It was a health science course that appealed to Kyra, and she eventually majored in the program. Kyra participated in a myriad of on-campus activities, such as joining a sorority (Delta Sigma Theta), working as a resident assistant, and participating in OSAD (Organization for Students of African Descent). She also earned entry into Eta Sigma Gamma (the National Health Education Honorary), completed two internships and received teacher certification.
According to Kyra, Brockport left her “fully equipped to handle professional life,” and that was evident as she entered the working world. It was the dedication of professors to students and their use of real-life situations that helped Kyra transition smoothly into her career, she explains.
Kyra’s career has developed over the years, including six years of teaching, working with a teen pregnancy prevention clinic, and a position in the housing authority. When the end of a grant in 2010 left Kyra without a job, she saw it as an opportunity to go back to school and receive her master’s degree in health science. A return to school would require a lot of hard work and determination — two things that Kyra has never been short on.
The College at Brockport became her top choice for several reasons, including the health science program, the warm and familiar history she had with the College, and the discovery of a diversity fellowship that would aid her not only financially but academically. However, it was the heart and caring of one particular professor from her undergraduate years that sealed the deal for Kyra’s return: Dr. Linda Balog, Kyra’s undergraduate advisor, had a profound impact on her. And Dr. Balog would now serve as her graduate advisor. Kyra explained that Dr. Balog is truly hands on and cares about her student’s academics and opportunities. It seems that Dr. Balog has developed the same respect and fondness for her former mentee as well.
“You could not forget Kyra,” comments Dr. Balog, the current executive director of the Professional Education Unit, on Kyra’s return to Brockport. Dr. Balog explains further “I’m glad to see her come full circle. She will be a great health educator.”
As a Diversity Fellow, Kyra appreciates the amount of diversity within the student body, faculty and classrooms at the College. She believes it is the open-mindedness of students and faculty that helps to make a Brockport education so special. As a part of the Diversity Fellowship Program, and through Dr. Balog, Kyra has been able to become involved with and assist influential College at Brockport committees such as the Effectiveness and Best Practices Committee, HLE Committee and the Diversity Committee. Currently, she is assisting Dr. Kathy Lalonde, the assessment coordinator for the Professional Education Unit. Opportunities such as these have given Kyra a platform to expand her thinking and knowledge and draw upon her previous career experiences.
Brockport has played a large role in Kyra’s academic and career development. From preparing her for real-life situations to providing her with eye-opening opportunities, The College at Brockport has helped her to discover her potential. It is through her hard work and perseverance — first as an undergraduate, and now as a graduate student —that Kyra will accomplish any goal she sets for herself.