Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Fulbright scholar credits MCC-Blue River experience for success

Tamera Jenkins, Fulbright scholar lands in Canada

You can get absolutely anywhere in the world from right here at Metropolitan Community College-Blue River. Tamera Jenkins took that message to heart, earning her way to a Fulbright scholarship and an exhilarating experience studying abroad. From the Blue River campus in Independence, Mo., Tamera made her way to a world of new experiences at Simon Fraser University's Graduate School of Criminology in Vancouver, British Columbia.

“I was thrilled when my son went to Blue River,” Tamera says. And when she brought him to campus to procure permission for him to attend at a younger than normal age, Jon Burke, MCC-Blue River's dean of student development, gave her the encouragement she says she needed to continue her own education as well.

Jon described their first meeting, saying, “She told me that she had thought about going back to college herself at some point in the future. I encouraged her to take one class at Blue River—begin as a part-time student and then decide if she’d like to be a full-time student for future semesters.” In light of her Fulbright scholarship and her track record of academic success, Jon added, “In hindsight, it certainly appears that
she was ready to tackle college classes.

Tamera credits both Jon and her son with encouraging her to go back to school. She returned to Blue River to tell Jon about her scholarship and to thank him for the encouragement. Of her son, Tamera says, “[Tony] asked me what I was going to do after he left home… I told him I was sure it would involve crates of Kleenex, junk food, and a lot of self-pity. He suggested college instead, and I took him up on it.” According to Tamera, “It just never occurred to me how far I would go.” Accomplishment after accomplishment, she earned an Associate of Arts degree at MCC-Blue River which she then took to Park University. There she earned a Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice and went on to apply for the Fulbright scholarship.

Through her experiences studying criminal justice, Tamera has acquired a passion for establishing healing and accountability in prisons in order to create a system that truly helps to reform inmates. The Fulbright grant allowed her to study the Canadian system of rehabilitation which insists that prisoners try to truly restore and put right their wrongs. This forward-thinking process is called “restorative justice,” and Tamera intends to bring this style of reformative punishment to the American criminal justice system.

Fulbright scholarship recipients are selected based on their outstanding academic performance, leadership skills, and the professional potential that they demonstrate. As a role model of success, Tamera proves that MCC-Blue River students can earn even the highest awards and recognition in any academic environment.

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