When Rapulu Okolo was a student in the Early College Academy at Metropolitan Community College, her path never crossed with the college’s chancellor. Okolo graduated from MCC in May 2017, and Dr. Kimberly Beatty started her new job as the college’s leader that July.
But the two met last summer at a Kansas City Royals game. Okolo was there shadowing sports business professionals as part of a communications and development internship with the Kansas City MLB Urban Youth Academy. Dr. Beatty was there because MCC has a marketing partnership with the Royals.
“She made me feel right at home, as if I’d never left MCC,” Okolo says.
“I think she’s phenomenal — she’s the type of person I’d love to learn from.”
The Early College Academy is a partnership of MCC-Penn Valley and Kansas City Public Schools. Successful, highly motivated students admitted to the Early College Academy spend their junior and senior years of high school taking MCC classes on the Penn Valley campus.
Okolo says the program “gave me the opportunity to experience being a traditional college student while also completing high school.”
Along with graduating from Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts that spring, she graduated from MCC with an associate in arts degree. She’s now attending Maryville University of St. Louis as a senior in the Rawlings Sport Business Management program. She plans to graduate in May and then pursue a master of business administration degree.
Okolo says opportunities at MCC like attending a Phi Theta Kappa regional conference and being selected as an All-Missouri Academic Team member gave her a chance to represent the Penn Valley campus as a leader.
“My time at MCC focused a lot on self-discovery, making it an integral part of my life,” she says. “Additionally, increasing my cultural competence by attending leadership conferences and speaking engagements spiked my interest in a field that is now my passion.”
As part of that passion, Okolo hopes to land a job in sports or technology, where she can expand diversity, equality and inclusion to help others. “I look at myself as a change agent working with an underrepresented field for women like me.”
Okolo encourages any prospective student to consider Metropolitan Community College. She says the MCC culture puts students first. “To be in such a space, where everyone facilitates a community of inclusiveness, growth and learning — I think it was unmatched.”