Kelly Kent, LC '98
Minor: Women's Studies
Activities: I worked part and full time all four years that I was student at Rutgers, but still found time for studies in the Honors program, laboratory research in order to graduate with a BS and political activism in relation to the issues of the time.
What attracted you to Rutgers University and the Honors/Scholars Program?
Rutgers offered me access to affordable excellence in higher education. I am so grateful, as it is absolutely what initiated my passion for and commitment to public education.
Why did you choose your major and minor?
Very early on I had an interest in the human mind, which led me into Psychology. And certainly this persisted, as today I am a neuroscientist. I attribute my minor choice to the University's good sense in requiring Women, Culture and Society as a graduate requirement for all students. This course was so riveting and eye-opening, that in combination with my political passions my choice of Women's Studies as a minor was clear.
Tell us a little bit about what you're doing now. What was your first job after Rutgers? Where do you live?
I am a neuroscientist providing brain-based professional development to educators, workshops to parents, and enrichment directly to students. I conducted molecular research in stroke recovery as a PhD student and hormones and behavior research as a Postdoctoral Researcher, both of which were at the University of Southern California. I was as an undergraduate instructor in neuroscience and psychology at Moorpark College, as well as a graduate instructor for psychotherapy students at Antioch University.
In addition to my consultant work in the public and private sectors, I am Vice President of the Culver City Unified School District Board of Education, where I use my expertise in organizational culture and education to enhance the experience and outcomes of all students the District. I am a parent of two children, Audrey (10) and Bruce (6), who are students in this district where we live in beautiful Culver City, CA. My husband, Hector and I, live next door to my parents, which, in combination with our strong community relationships, allows us to really have the village be part of our parenting philosophy.
What has been your greatest professional and/or personal accomplishment since you graduated Rutgers?
I received the most votes to be elected to the Culver City School Board in November of 2015.
Was there a class and/or experience at Rutgers that led you to pursuing your current career?
Certainly my psychopharmacology at Rutgers inspired my first fascination with the biology of the brain. I was so enthralled that I would try to come home on weekends and teach the material to my poor parents. Even they could see then that the brain was a source of engagement for me. We could never have predicted neuroscience graduate school at that point, but I can look back now and see that it was a sliding door moment.
What three words describe your experience at Rutgers and the Honors/Scholars Program?
Enriching. Enlightening. Transformational.
How has your Rutgers and Honors education benefited you in your post-Rutgers life?
My college friendships have lasted my lifetime, and I always connect strongly with other graduates of RU that have made it out to the West Coast. But perhaps more than those social aspects, the passion for learning that Rutgers inspired in me is what has led me to continually pursue education as a pathway. I was a student for years after Rutgers and have continued to be passionate about education in both my business owner and my elected official capacities. It is without question, what drives me.
What advice do you have for our current SAS Honors Program students?
You form special relationships with your Honors peers. Hang on to those and treasure them. Seek out mentorship. You have access to incredible role models in the Honors program. Even if that unique professor/student relationship doesn't fall into your lap, go out and seek it. It will propel you further than you can ever travel alone.