FAU’s Kenan Social Engagement Program Announces Scholarship Winners for 2021
by Lynda F. Rysavy | Tuesday, Apr 20, 2021
The Kenan Social Engagement Program at the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University is pleased to announce the selection of two 2021 scholarship recipients, or Kenan Scholars. Luis Henrique Pollon and Jessica Chomik have been chosen as part of a competitive selection process to launch social ventures that they conceptualized and planned in the Fall 2020 semester under the tutelage of program co-directors Timothy Steigenga, Ph.D., and Christopher Strain, Ph.D., professors at the Wilkes Honors College.
Luis Henrique Pollon is the winner of a $10,000 seed grant for his venture designed to illuminate the path beyond formal education by creating instructional content that saves students’ time and provides practical academic and career success skills. Unsunk develops short digital courses that are just as easy to consume as social media content while maintaining the integrity of educational legitimacy of the subject matter. Unsunk offers courses that teach learning techniques, public speaking skills, time management strategies, and many other skills designed to improve student success in the classroom and beyond. Luis will graduate in May with a B.A. in Economics and a minor in Business, plans to dedicate himself to expanding his venture.
“There is no better way of showing how much this program has impacted me than saying that I will be working full-time on Unsunk for the next few years,” said Luis. "Wherever in the world, I decide to go next, I will continue to work hard to make this company - and its vision - a success.”
Jessica Chomik received $2,500 in start-up funding for her venture, Gradifind. Gradifind is a website and mobile application that offers three tiers of personalized use to undergraduate students and their advisors to manage academic career paths efficiently and effectively. According to Jessica, the organization seeks to empower students to research and organize graduate schools for the next step in their careers.
As a cellular neuroscience concentrator graduating in May, Jessica plans to extend her research experience as a post-baccalaureate researcher at a prestigious neuroscience institution next year. After that, she will be pursuing her doctorate in Clinical Neuropsychology and hopes to open her practice in the future while maintaining her business venture.
“I think that it is important for young people to dabble in entrepreneurship and business planning,” said Jessica. “You never know what opportunities might arise later in life and having even basic knowledge of how to manipulate a problem into a profitable solution will come in handy regardless of the nature of your degree.”
Each year, the Kenan Social Engagement Program enters agreements with local area nonprofit community partners where students do academic service-learning. The students write business plans either for their own ventures or for ventures tailored to serve the mission of the community partners. Community partners that have participated in the Kenan Social Engagement Program include; the El Sol Neighborhood Resource Center, a day-labor center founded to aid the local immigrant community in northern Palm Beach County; The Lord’s Place, a nonprofit, nonsectarian organization dedicated to breaking the cycle of homelessness in Palm Beach County; the Palm Beach County Food Bank, which provides food for area food pantries and soup kitchens; the Town of Jupiter; Easterseals Florida, a national organization that provides community-based services for people with disabilities; Mind & Melody, which implements uniquely designed music therapy programs for clients with neurological impairments at healthcare facilities, nursing homes, day centers, and assisted living facilities; Path to College, a mentoring program designed to help at-risk kids apply to college, and Quantum House, a home that lessens the burden for families whose children are receiving treatment for severe medical conditions. Now in its ninth year, the Kenan Social Engagement program is funded by a grant and endowment by the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust.
For more information on the program visit here.