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Cynthia and George Nichols III ISEC Academy



Intercultural Student Engagement Center (ISEC) Academy is a Western Kentucky University initiative/program to assist students that identify as students of color (Black, Hispanic/Latino, Asian, Native American, Multiracial) and/or who are first generation, Pell eligible, and have some need with their transition, persistence, and graduation from Western Kentucky University.  This program is coordinated by the Intercultural Student Engagement Center.  We believe that students of color at Western Kentucky University are scholars who will achieve positive change in themselves, the WKU Community, and the world!


Students and parents/guardians participate in a welcoming ceremony followed by informational sessions for ISEC Academy Orientation before M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan. After families depart, students will participate in several activities to prepare them for a successful year. 

ISEC Classroom

Many ISEC Academy students enroll in two courses in which they learn together and build community in the classroom. These courses include University Experience and English 100. 


Academy students stay in Hugh Poland Hall as part of their Living Learning Community. They participate in events within their hall and attend events together. 


Components of ISEC Academy

The primary components of the ISEC-Academy include peer mentoring and a living learning community for our  students of color. Through our program students will have the opportunities for transformation related to personal development, academic engagement, culture and diversity, a support network and involvement. Our peer mentors (Navigators) are:

  • Diverse in terms of majors, social identities, and experiences.
  • Equipped to support new students in transitions, campus involvement, development of goals, and the Western Kentucky University experience.

Our living learning community located in Hugh Poland Hall and Zacharias Hall, builds a sense of belonging to Western Kentucky University, forms a support network and begins creating the student’s college experience. In addition, students will enroll in two courses together: University experience and English 100 during their first year. 

To learn more about ISEC-Academy, please feel free to contact Cres'Sena Thomas at 270.745.5066 or by email at cressena.thomas@wku.edu


If you are not a first year student, fill out this form: https://www.wku.edu/isec/cares/index.php


First-generation is defined as one of the following: A) an individual whose natural or adoptive parents did not receive a bachelor’s degree; B) an individual who, prior to the age of 18, regularly, resided with and received support from only one parent and whose supporting parent did not receive a bachelor’s degree; C) an individual who, prior to the age of 18, did not regularly reside with or receive support from a natural or an adoptive parent.




By submitting this application you are acknowledging that you understand that the following are required expectations of the ISEC Academy:

Be mentored through at least 1-hour of meaningful conversations per week with your assigned mentor from August 2021-April 2022.

Meet with your assigned ISEC Staff member at least once a month.

Complete a minimum of six study hours per week.

Register and attend the 2021 WKU M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan

Live in the ISEC Academy Living Learning Community (Hugh Poland) with other ISEC Academy students for the duration of your freshman year. I understand that by participating in ISEC Academy I waive my roommate selection rights and can only room with other ISEC Academy participants. If the roommate you would like to have has not applied to ISEC Academy please remind them to do so by July 1.


Participate in all activities, events, and meetings for ISEC Academy participants.

Focus on establishing a strong academic foundation with a 2.7 GPA by attending tutoring and engaging with faculty.

Be a respectful member of the ISEC Academy community.

I understand that by typing my full name below, I acknowledge that the information provided will be used to consider eligibility for participation in the ISEC Academy Program, and I certify under penalty of perjury that this information is true, complete, and accurate to the best of my knowledge.



Cynthia & George Nichols III ISEC Academy

Learn more about the Cynthia & George Nichols III ISEC Academy in this View from the HIll. 


View from the Hill is a weekly news segment that airs Thursdays on WBKO to share happenings at Western Kentucky University. In this video, which aired on September 6, 2018, Executive Director Dr. Martha Sales discusses the Center and Academy and WKU students ellaborate on their experiences. 

View from the Hill -Connecting with students is key for the Intercultural Student Engagement Center Video Preview




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 Last Modified 5/23/21