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LEAD and The Power of First-Gen

Erin Kimura-Walsh has overseen the LEAD Scholars Program at Santa Clara University since 2009 and is currently the Director of the program. Erin was an undergraduate student in English and Japanese at Santa Clara before earning an M.S. in Counseling from San Francisco State University and a Ph.D. in Higher Education from the University of California, Los Angeles. As the Director of LEAD, she engages in strategic planning while overseeing the day to day operations. She plans the long-term growth and development of the program such as programming, courses, fundraising, and strategic partnerships. She ensures the successful implementation of LEAD Week and college success activities throughout the year for first-generation college students. Furthermore, Dr. Kimura-Walsh teaches courses for the LEAD Scholars Program that focus on college success, leadership skills, diversity, and equity in higher education.

In this episode Antonio brings on the Director of the LEAD Scholars Program, Erin Kimura-Walsh, to speak on Erin’s experience during her time as a student at SCU, the difference between her experience and what she sees today, how the LEAD Scholars Program was created in 2003, the conceptualization of LEAD Week, academic and leadership growth opportunities in LEAD, the impact LEAD has had on its students, reimagining LEAD to maintain its effectiveness in a virtual setting, and the significance of peer mentorship in LEAD.

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Interview Highlights

3:57 - How would you describe the difference between your SCU experience and what you’re seeing today?

8:33 - What goal did you have when you started the LEAD Program in 2003 and what was the process that enabled the program to manifest itself?

12:20 - How was the idea of LEAD Week implemented into the program and what is its purpose?

14:30 - What kinds of academic and leadership growth opportunities/workshops does LEAD provide to its students?

20:10 - What major impact have you seen the program have on the lives of current LEAD students and LEAD alumni?

24:20 - How did LEAD adapt to the virtual transition that we all experienced in March of 2020 due to the pandemic?

31:00 - What were the behind the scenes steps to organize an effective LEAD Week online?

34:35 - How has peer mentorship in the LEAD program benefited first year students?
39:45 - VoSC custom questions.

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