courtesy photo
Kern and Dr. Michael West of the Creek Nation Indian Health Clinic. Kern shadowed Dr. West during the summer, solidifying his interests in medicine.

Choctaw Student Earns Dual Scholarships to Duke

Bret Moss, Choctaw Nation SAP

This passion continued into his high school years where he volunteered for organizations such as Camp Barnabas and St. Francis. He also began his own effort known as Friends of Benton, which garnished much involvement from classmates.

Kern, second from left, along with his “Friends of Benton” volunteers share their time at the St. Francis Children’s Party. (Danziger Photography)

The volunteer work, in combination with his exceptional academic accolades and extracurriculars were factors that earned his financial awards. Boasting a 4.6 GPA, valedictorian status, active membership to the National Honors Society and involvement in several sports, Kern stood out among contestants for a number of scholarships.

While searching for scholarships, his Gates application made a personal impact. “It was the toughest application I have ever completed,” Kern said. During the process, he was required to complete seven different essays, but not able to fully convey his passion and determination in the allotted amount, Kern completed eight, enabling him to claim the prize. “The work you put into the application, you get back,” he said.

His connection to Duke began with his involvement in the Choctaw Nation Scholarship Advisement Program (SAP), where he was able to meet recruiters personally at events such as Ivy League and Friends and College Horizons.

“Beginning my freshman year, SAP opened me up to a new world of education. The program proved that no matter who I was or where I came from, I could achieve greatness in my academic career,” Kern said. “I had only dreamed of attending a college with such prestige as Duke University, but SAP made my dreams into a reality.”


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