Mason Kinsella is a student in the College of Education who will be graduating in May 2022. But his journey to graduation has not come without challenges. In the face of adversity, Mason is determined to achieve his goals and graduate on time. And although Mason’s perseverance is admirable, he still encourages current and prospective NKU students to remember a couple of things. “Your twenties are your age of exploration. You’re allowed to mess up and make new choices. You may not find a strong group of friends at first, but by the end of your college career, you’ll find your people and your place,” he shares.
Attending NKU was an easy decision for Mason. Because NKU is close to his home in Independence, Kentucky, he could commute to campus and save on living costs while furthering his education and views. Additionally, Mason aims to build a career as an English teacher and wants to tie in his passion for theatre. “NKU has great Theatre, English, and Education programs, so it seemed like the perfect place to pursue my interests,” he says. “Coming to NKU opened my eyes and allowed me to learn about other perspectives. This experience helped me grow into the socially conscious person I am today and made me aware of how our education contributes to our point of view.”
Even though commuting has allowed Mason to cut expenses, it still does not begin to cover tuition costs. As a four-year recipient of the Butler Scholar Award and a current recipient of the Timothy J. Schlotman Educator Scholarship, Mason is able to breathe a bit easier knowing he has assistance covering his tuition. “Without scholarships, I don’t know how I’d be able to swing it,” he says. “It is incredible how in college if you put in the work, you’ll be rewarded for it.” He recently spoke with his students about this and shared with them, “No matter your background or where you come from, your hard work will be recognized.”
Through the College of Education, Mason has been a student-teacher at a variety of high schools throughout Northern Kentucky. “Because I have experience at these different schools, I’ve seen the many faces of Northern Kentucky, which has been beneficial for acquiring a diverse teaching experience,” he shares.
Outside of academics and student-teaching, Mason volunteers with a nonprofit organization called Milestones, Inc., a therapeutic equestrian program where his mother works. Mason has also worked with the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Cincinnati, during which he went through training for trauma-informed care. This training and his varied involvement around Northern Kentucky have influenced Mason’s philosophy on education. “The trauma-informed care seminar helped me understand why children and teenagers may be acting out,” he says. “I plan to treat my students with respect because they are all growing up with their own opinions and experience, so I believe creating a safe space for that is important.”
Mason has recent experience with his own trauma and grief. In December 2020, he lost his father due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although this loss has placed an unimaginable toll on Mason and his family, he has been incredibly resilient. He is honoring what he knows his dad would want for him by harnessing this strength. “It was my dad who told me that teaching is a vocation and that people are called to be great teachers,” Mason says. “When my dad passed away, I was tempted to take a semester off, but I knew he would want me to stay on track. With him in mind, I had to continue to try my best in school.”
The impact of those who donate to scholarships and NKU students reaches far beyond campus. When facing such devastating circumstances, Mason is grateful for the scholarships and assistance he has received. He shares, “If donors are looking to give back to the community and foster opportunities for careers that help and influence the region, then donating to NKU is one of the best investments you can make.”