K.C. Weston '14

Status: Current Student, Class of 2014

Major: Communication Management and Design  

Hometown: Bronx, New York

Works: For the Office of Admission

Tuition Assistance: An MLK Scholarship of $25,000 to $50,000

Student Debt: $20,000 to $29,000

K.C. Weston ’14 thought she had experienced culture shock before, but during a trip to Ecuador, she wasn’t prepared for what she felt. Weston traveled to Ecuador and the Dominican Republic as part of the MLK Scholar Program at IC. She says the trips gave her the opportunity to study abroad in an academic setting as well as the chance to have emotional conversations about important issues and feel supported by a group of peers.

“Those trips were a pivotal experience for me,” she says. “There’s only so much you can learn through reading about social issues without going to those countries.” While in Ecuador, Weston did a comparative case study she titled “Female Bodies: The Intersecting Politics of Beauty in Ecuador.”

The MLK Scholar Program at Ithaca College has been one of her favorite parts about attending IC. “I knew being part of a group like that would push me academically,” she says. “They’re all really dedicated, ambitious people. Sometimes we get grouped together as minorities, but we’re all really different individuals with varied interests.”

In addition to her MLK scholarship, Weston works as a tour guide for admissions. She saves money by living off-campus, but she estimates she will graduate with debt somewhere in the $20,000 range.  

She plans to stay in Ithaca after graduation but admits it will be tough. “I’m not looking forward to it at all,” she says. “It’s like I’m on a flying carpet ride, and the rug is about to be pulled out from under me.”

A scholarship student in high school and now in college, Weston said she feels the pressure to prove she’s worthwhile. “Someone’s paying for you to do something, and you want to be a worthwhile investment,” she says.

She plans to start applying for Fulbright and Rhodes scholarships so that she can continue to travel and research, as she’s been able to do through the MLK program.

“With my debt, I won’t be able to afford graduate school unless I can find a program that’s willing to support me if I give it my all,” she says.

What advice would you give to prospective students about taking on debt to finance their education?

You’ve got to understand the term 'higher education' means a lot more than sitting in a class, listening to a professor, and taking notes. It’s about making connections, gaining life experiences. Otherwise, all college would be online. If college was sitting at home and reading and sponging information, it wouldn’t be worth it. But at college you have the opportunity to wring out your sponge, share your ideas, and take in other ideas.

Read more about the value of an IC education here.