Hometown Hero

It all started with an impromptu celebration on an otherwise average day of high school for Kaizon Davis. Called down to the auditorium with the rest of his classmates, nobody thought much of what was to come.

“Then I saw all the Bradley stuff and Kaboom! and everything. When I saw my mom and the rest of my family walk in, at that point I knew.”

Davis, now a freshman psychology major, was handpicked to be part of Bradley University’s Hometown Scholars Program, receiving a full-tuition scholarship aimed at bolstering underrepresented populations at Bradley. 

“For a lot of the students, and their families, this scholarship removes the cost factor that prevents so many from pursuing a college degree,” said Dr. Warren Anderson, Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Bradley. “Most of all, this scholarship acknowledges all of the hard work and dedication of each of the recipients, and the role that their families played in their success. It is truly one of the best days of my entire academic year.”

According to Anderson, the aim is to continue expanding access to Bradley for community members. The hope is that these students will play a role in creating an environment in which many more local students will see Bradley as their top choice. Davis takes pride in being a role model for this purpose. 

“Being successful is a big thing for me. I want to try to help move the needle in the right way,” he said. 

For Davis, that means entering the field of psychology. Inspired by a relative’s journey with mental health, he has been delving deeper into counseling and theory every day, going so far as to write a paper on the interplay between motivation and emotion (and snag an A along the way).

“I find it really interesting because it's the smallest things we wouldn't think of that cause people to do certain things, or cause a brain to function a certain way,” Davis said.

The capacity to help those who feel they have nowhere to turn is a big draw for Davis, whose friends laud his advice.

In addition to his studies and commitment to others, Davis spends plenty of time getting involved through the Circle of Brotherhood, Bradley SERVE and Bradley’s Black Student Alliance. He’s grateful to be connected with students that have been in his shoes before, and looks forward to doing the same for future generations.

“I'm looking forward to growing, getting more opportunities, getting into some leadership roles and building my resume,” Davis said. “I’m looking to make the most of the resources I have access to right now. I’m not only trying to better myself, but also give back to the community.”

– Jenevieve Rowley-Davis