Making History: First Rogers Fellow to Graduate

Brooklyn Stepro ’19
Green Valley High School Henderson, Nev.
Major: Political Science and History
Accepted to University of Nevada, Reno-Master of Public Administration program

Brooklyn Stepro made history when she received her diploma at Wesleyan’s 151st Commencement on April 27 as the first Rogers Fellow to graduate from the College. A member of the initial group of Rogers Fellows who arrived at the College in August 2016, she earned her degree in three years and will enter the University of Nevada, Reno in the fall. “I’m very grateful to the Rogers Foundation for their generosity,” reflected Brooklyn. “They have done a lot for Clark County [Nevada], and they have done a lot for me.”The Rogers Foundation was founded by entrepreneur and philanthropist Jim Rogers (1938-2014) and his wife, Beverly. Rogers was the son of Wesleyan graduates Frank Rogers ’36 and Lucille (Savage) Rogers ’37, who through his family connection to the Wesleyan campus, recognized and appreciated the value of a Kentucky Wesleyan education.

In October ’15, The Rogers Foundation announced awards of over $10 million in scholarships over the next decade to college-bound students from Southern Nevada to Kentucky Wesleyan.

Brooklyn had never visited Kentucky when she arrived on campus almost three years ago. Her first impressions included sights and experiences she will miss as she prepares to go back to Nevada. “There were big, beautiful trees everywhere, and lots of green grass. I missed the mountains, but loved the green, and the people were friendly and warm from the moment I stepped on campus. I had come from far away, but they were interested in me, and they made me feel welcome from the beginning.”

She recalled meeting President Bart Darrell at a Rogers Foundation dinner in Las Vegas her senior year in high school. “I saw him again my first day here, and he remembered me and called me by name,” Brooklyn said. “I was impressed, but that is Wesleyan – it is a very personal place.”

Brooklyn began as a biology major, but with the encouragement of Dr. William Conroy, she became a political science and history major. With his help, she landed a coveted internship with the Legislative Research Commission in Frankfort, where she worked in constituent services and did research on foster care, including an interview with Kentucky First Lady Glenna Bevin. She recently presented a paper on foster care at the Midwest Political Science Association Conference in Chicago.

She looked back on her three years at Wesleyan with appreciation to Drs. Conroy, Mason Horrell [history] and Eric Schmidt [political science]. “They were all very understanding, supportive and available. It was clear that they cared about their students as individuals and wanted them to succeed.”

Brooklyn took advantage of opportunities for involvement on and off campus. As president of the Stanley Reed Pre-Law and Political Science Society, she facilitated a campus event with State Senator Joe Bowen. She also served with the Student Government Association.

She explored historic venues in Kentucky and Tennessee with the Stanley Reed Society and enjoyed hockey games, zip lining and amusements parks across three states with other Rogers Fellows on trips organized by Vice President of Executive Initiatives and Retention Scott Kramer ’87.

“It has been an honor to be a part of Kentucky Wesleyan,’ reflected Brooklyn. “I hope I’m a positive example to Rogers Fellows and other students. If I can do it, they can, too. The tremendous partnership between Kentucky Wesleyan and the Rogers Foundation has made such a difference in my life and prepared me for the next step. My dream is to work at the United Nations someday.”