June 1, 2018 at 1:31 pm

2018 Graduate Matthew Kinlow an “Outstanding Senior Leader”

Two men smiling, holding award, black backdrop

President M. Duane Nellis presents Kinlows with the Outstanding Senior Leader Award.

by Kristin Distel

Recent graduate Matthew Kinlow has big dreams and the drive to achieve them.

At the 2018 OHIO Leadership Awards Gala, Kinlow was named a recipient of an Outstanding Senior Leader award for his work with a variety of campus organizations. His service to the OHIO community includes leadership positions with the Minority Association of Pre-Health Students (MAPS), the Black Student Cultural Programming Board, and the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. (Phi Chapter).

Kinlow graduated from OHIO this spring with a degree in Biological Sciences; his minors included African American Studies and Chemistry. Like all MAPS students, he also earned leadership certification through the Career and Leadership Development Center (CLDC).

Ultimately, Kinlow wants to earn both an M.D. and a J.D. In terms of medicine, he is interested in practicing cardiology or cardio-thoracic surgery. He wants to practice medicine in an urban setting, examine the effectiveness of local laws, and advocate for change in those laws and policies.

This summer, Kinlow is serving as a clinical assistant at a medical facility in Canton while he applies to joint M.D./J.D. programs.

Lending a Hand with MAPS

“I’m extremely proud of my work with the Minority Association of Pre-Health Students,” Kinlow states. He previously served as the president of the organization; most recently, he served as the MAPS health policy and legislative affairs chair.

“MAPS drew me to OHIO,” Kinlow explains. He knew when he visited OHIO as a prospective student that he wanted to become president of the organization; when he arrived as a first-year student, however, the charter had become inactive.

Kinlow worked with Joselyn Hines, Deana Lewis, and Abi Morolayo to reactivate the charter on campus.

Man and woman outside, smiling

Joselyn Hines (’18) and Kinlow

“We wanted to establish a solid network of students, faculty, and staff that would keep the organization going long after we’re gone. I think we were successful in doing that,” Kinlow states.

Under Kinlow’s leadership, MAPS and Alpha Phi Alpha’s Phi Chapter contracted with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) to help spread the word about the importance of Issue 2, which was intended to reduce the cost of prescription medications in Ohio.

“Even though Issue 2 failed in Ohio, working on this initiative was a great experience for me and rest of the MAPS students. We were able to latch onto a policy and see what ground zero effects a policy like that can have. We were tabling all the time, registering voters, and educating students about important issues on our campus community, in Appalachia, and across Ohio” Kinlow says.

A Vital Voice on Campus

Kinlow also served as president of OHIO’s Black Student Cultural Programming Board.

“Overall, the organization’s goal is to serve OHIO’s campus in a way that emphasizes social and cultural awareness. We encourage people to hear one another’s stories. We want everyone to be open to empathizing with each other’s experiences,” Kinlow explains.

Man standing between two women, indoors

Martha Compton (Director of Community Standards and Student Responsibility), Matthew Kinlow, and Dr. Jenny Hall-Jones at the Black Student Cultural Programming Board’s Blackburn Spencer Scholarship Pageant

Kinlow started his work with the Black Student Cultural Programming Board as a special events assistant and worked his way up to the presidential role. In these capacities, he worked on an annual co-ed scholarship pageant that raised $13,000 in each of past two years, in addition to overseeing myriad other projects.

“With need for student representation, diversity, and inclusion, we’re called on a lot,” Kinlow explains. As president of the Black Student Cultural Programming Board, Kinlow was involved with OHIO’s search for the new Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion, a position for which Dr. Gigi Secuban was recently hired.

“As an organization, we wanted to help the university find a Vice President with whom students are comfortable,” Kinlow adds.

Under Kinlow’s leadership, the Black Student Cultural Programming Board also coordinated a Holocaust Remembrance Program and a variety of Sibs Weekend programming.

“Our organization aims to serve entire campus community,” he states.

Devotion to “Service and Community Development”

As the former vice president and a brother of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., Kinlow helped establish OHIO’s Phi Chapter as a powerful and effective campus organization. At the 2018 Leadership Gala, Alpha Phi Alpha was named “Program of the Year” for its annual MLK Silent March and Brunch.

People marching alongside street

Brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha leading the annual MLK Silent March

Last year, Alpha Phi Alpha honored former OHIO President Roderick McDavis. The fraternity brought in a children’s choir from Washington D.C. that not only gave a rousing performance but also provided information about the rich history of African American music.

“The choir had the whole room dancing,” Kinlow says. “They were so talented, and there was a wide range of ages. Some of the kids were as young as second grade, and some of the performers were college-aged.”

The fraternity also organizes the Miss Bronze Scholarship Pageant for women of color on campus; they were able to award $8,000 in scholarships this year. The pageant is Phi chapter’s version of the National Miss Black and Gold Pageant; in the 1970s, OHIO’s chapter opted to remove the swimsuit portion of the competition. No other chapters have eliminated the swimsuit requirement, Kinlow states.

Alpha Phi Alpha was also named Chapter of the Year for its region, which includes 12 neighboring states and all of Canada. The award was based on philanthropy and community involvement. Alpha Phi Alpha’s service focuses on professional development, local voter registration and political awareness, and national programming, such as fundraising for the March of Dimes.

“We’re not too concerned with accolades, but it’s nice to know our efforts make a difference. We are dedicated to service and community development,” Kinlow says.

Woman directing choir

The Singing Sensations Children’s Choir of Baltimore, MD at the 2017 MLK Brunch

Helping Students of Color Explore the World 

During Kinlow’s first year at OHIO, he developed an interest in studying abroad; at that time, he realized that additional guidance and resources are necessary for some students who are attempting to fulfill a dream of studying outside the United States.

“I was the only undergraduate student of color on the school trip I took to Botswana, and that was eye-opening,” Kinlow remarks.

This experience prompted him to help students of color navigate the study abroad experience, so he became involved with Students Advocating for Global Experiences (SAGE). As SAGE’s chair of multicultural student access, Kinlow has located scholarship opportunities and resources for students of color to help them study abroad.

The Gillman scholarship, for example, which Kinlow received, is a nationally competitive, government-funded award of $4,000, which covered his flight and part of his housing abroad. Kinlow helped two other students obtain this scholarship, as well.

Major Academic Milestones

Indeed, Kinlow arrived at OHIO as an already accomplished scholar; he earned an Associate of Arts degree and an Associate of Science degree while in high school. His undergraduate career has likewise been filled with awards, milestones, and successes.

He was named a Links Promise Scholar for his work with OHIO’s Office for Multicultural Student Access and Retention (OMSAR). Kinlow also received an OHIO Award for Excellence in the Workplace (Community Standards) and a Blackburn Spencer Scholarship, both in 2017.

For the past two years, Kinlow has given presentations at the American Medical Education Conference, where he spoke about his research on underrepresented minority students who are pursuing medical degrees.

He is also at work on a publication with OHIO Professor of African American Literature Dr. Gary Holcomb. Together, they are analyzing queer Harlem Renaissance literature that is centered in Cleveland and northeastern Ohio. This is an extension of Kinlow’s previous work on the development of queer spaces in northeastern Ohio, which he hopes to publish.

Kinlow credits several OHIO faculty and staff with helping him navigate his path to success.

Man in suit in front of pillar

Matthew Kinlow, photo courtest of Kushinda/ Ritos De Pasaje

Dr. Winsome Chunnu-Brayda [Strategic Director for Diversity and Inclusion and Multicultural Programs and Initiatives] has been both my boss and my mentor. She’s amazing, and the university needs her,” he says.

He is also grateful to Dr. Jason Pina, OHIO’s Vice President for Student Affairs. “He’s awesome. Dr. Pina is someone I can go to if I’m concerned about anything on campus,” Kinlow remarks. “Just knowing that he’s there to support and maintain progress that we’re making is very helpful.”

Brandy Baker and Dr. Michael Rice at the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine also helped me navigate a road to medicine that I didn’t know much about, and Dr. Lauren McMills gave me my initial confidence in first-year chemistry. I wouldn’t have a chemistry minor if not for her encouragement,” he explains.

Man examines patient's ear

Matthew Kinlow and Trey Tate (Brother of Phi) at the MAPS/SNMA Medical Student for a Day with OHIO’s Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine

A Bright Future Ahead

Kinlow’s plans for his career are ambitious, but his studies at OHIO and the guidance he has received have served and prepared him well.

“I’m confident that OHIO has given me a solid foundation to build on,” Kinlow says. “My goal has always been to create change and to help others. OHIO has really given me a great head start on that path.”

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