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Kayla Kemp ’24 Awarded Prestigious Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship

  • Kayla Kemp, 2022 Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship Winner
    Kayla Kemp
Marymount Manhattan College is pleased to announce the 2022 Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship has been awarded to Kayla Kemp 24. The prestigious fellowship is a three-year program that provides funded summer internships, mentoring, and professional opportunities to promising undergraduate students.

Kemp, an Atlanta native on a BFA track in Dance and Jazz, was inspired by a peer to come to MMC. “We used to dance together, and I saw how much he had grown at Marymount,” she says. “I have a lot of capacity to grow as a person and professional, so this felt like the right place for me.”

During freshman year, Kemp learned about the Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship through emails but decided to hold off on applying. She feared she wasn’t ready, having not yet decided on a career path.

“After taking two courses, ‘The Arts and Social Change’ and ‘Dance and Cultural Histories,’ I realized I could use my artistic capabilities to advocate for change in the world,” Kemp recalls. With a newfound interest in art and legal reform, Kemp was ready to act on the fellowship opportunity.

Career Services Executive Director Robin Nackman, International Studies Department Chair Jennifer Mueller, and Assistant Professor of Marketing Pielah Kim were impressed by Kemp’s passion for using art to do good, and they offered their support throughout her application process. “I don’t know how they found the time in their days to help me prep for interviewing—but they did—and I am so grateful,” Kemp says.

Professor Kim spoke proudly about Kemp’s ability to meld different facets of her academics to make change. “Kayla’s keen vision remains in synthesizing art, creativity, and power of expression to reform the unhealthy criminal system,” Kim says. “As a J.K. Watson Fellow, Kayla will be a leader who transforms her vision into reality and makes positive impacts.”

Kemp is already making an impact around the College as a member of more than five groups and organizations including the Black and Latinx Student Association (BLSA) and Marymount Community Outreach. Kemp’s high aspirations for bringing artistic programs to incarcerated individuals and developing countries place her on a promising career trajectory, which the fellowship will help launch.

“I am looking forward to meeting all the fellows who are passionate, like me, and want to see change in the world. When we come together, we will make a more just world.”

Congratulations, Kayla, on this wonderful achievement!

Learn more about the Jeanne K. Watson Fellowship