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Stories 2 min

Uniting Passion With Determination

Benjamin Wilkerson, Adviser, 2020-2022

As a child of Haitian immigrants and a first-generation American himself, Ivenson spent the early years of his life in Florida in a vibrant Haitian community filled with music and dancing. Later, his family moved to Washington, Indiana, so that his parents could pursue new career opportunities. Still, Ivenson never forgot the rich culture he grew up in – especially the music. I know this because Ivenson mentioned his long-term relationship with music on a near-daily basis as I came to know him during his senior year. He demonstrated this dedication to the arts by routinely missing our scholarship and financial aid meetings to attend band practice – for which I have finally forgiven him.

Throughout his senior year, Ivenson and I worked together to find a college path that would align well with his career and personal goals – exploring options from music therapy to music education and even contemporary dance. One day, I suggested that Ivenson consider the Arts Management program at Indiana University to combine his passion for the arts with his interest in the music business. He applied and eventually received an acceptance letter (after what felt like one of the longest waits of our lives). We also worked together on his application for the Hudson and Holland Scholars Program at IU – a program designed to bolster the academic success of historically marginalized students through a combination of financial assistance and academic support services. He was quickly accepted into the program and made the decision to attend Indiana University.

Despite his enthusiasm for his degree program and the generous scholarship he received, I was slightly concerned. I never thought he would have trouble with school, but I was worried that he might find it difficult to unite his passion with a dedication to his studies.

When I met Ivenson on campus for coffee early in the Spring Semester, I was quickly relieved to learn that he had adapted easily to college and was thriving. From connecting with professors and peers in his classes to becoming a founding member of a club centered around musical management, Ivenson carved out his spot on a Big Ten college campus with ease. As he told me, “I’m glad that I came to IU and found my club… it’s the hub for unbreakable connections. It’s basically home.”

As a rising sophomore at Indiana University, Ivenson plans to continue his path toward an Arts Management degree and hopes to solidify his club as the number one talent management source for IU undergraduate performing artists.

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Benjamin Wilkerson served as a College Advising Corps Adviser at Indiana University Bloomington from 2020 to 1022. Ben is currently pursuing a master’s degree at the University of Indiana, Bloomington, in the fall of 2022.