Alfred Jamal Kinchen is a student with many talents. A junior at SIU, Kinchen is working on double majors in both Aviation Management and Piano Performance. His dream is to one day be a commercial airline pilot but he hopes he can continue to play piano on the side.
A University Excellence scholar and a recipient of the Steven Barwick scholarship, Kinchen says that if it wasn’t for those scholarships, he would not be enrolled at SIU today.
“My parents said they could not afford to send me to college. The only way I could go was if I received enough scholarships. When I opened that letter telling me I won those two scholarships, it felt as if a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders,” said Kinchen. “I am forever grateful for those scholarships.”
When asked what he likes most about SIU, he could not pick just one thing. “I really like the size of the university. For me, it’s not too small and yet it isn’t too big. I also don’t feel like I’m just another face in the crowd. Everyone in both the music and the aviation programs have been so helpful. I feel like I know everyone – from students to professors. It just feels very comfortable,” he said.
Kinchen encourages alumni to give back to SIU. “It is so hard financially for so many students here. I just hope that alumni remember how they felt when they were a student. A helping hand is what so many students need right now,” Kinchen said.
“I hope one day to create a scholarship specially for disadvantaged students. I’d like to focus on giving back to minorities. I think scholarships would encourage more minorities to receive an education like I have.”