Kettering student leaders are "firsts"

Jan 14, 2005

Two transfer students from Miami-Dade College prepare to take the helm at Kettering when B-Section students return in April. It is the first time two international students have shared the top student leadership positions.

The recent student government elections have generated some "firsts" at Kettering University, creating an important mark as the institution moves toward a stronger global reputation. Two international students from Africa were elected by B-Section students to lead the student senate.

Elected president is Jerry Huson, a senior Electrical Engineering major with a co-op at Bertram Yachts in Miami, Fla. He is originally from Ghana.

Elected vice president is Mark Kahugu, a senior Computer Engineering major who is working on his thesis with Dr. Pat Atkinson doing research at McLaren Regional Medical Center. He is originally from Kenya. He plans to stay at Kettering to do a master's degree in Information Technology.

Both Huson and Kahugu are transfer students from Miami Dade College. It is the first time the student leadership is originating from Kettering's strategic partner in Florida.

"It's a great honor," said Kahugu, who is majoring in computer engineering. "Especially as a Miami Dade alumni. We want to bring more students to Kettering so it can be more diversified. We will always be Miami Dade students first."

While attending Miami Dade College, Huson and Kahugu both sharpened their political skills. Kahugu served as a student government senator for one year starting in March of 2001. And Huson was president of the north campus student government association for a year starting in April of 2002.

During that stint, Huson drew on his experience as a freshman to better serve his student body. Huson recalled how he struggled to pay for textbooks his first few semesters at MDC.

Determined to help others avoid this dilemma, Huson started a book donation program. He hopes to develop such bold projects at Kettering. "I want to sincerely help," he said, who was named to the USA Today academic team in 2003.

On the agenda first is a lofty plan to create an academic council to help improve academic programs at Kettering. The University (formerly General Motors Institute) is one of the country's premier co-op schools. With a student body of 2,500, it offers career opportunities in engineering, applied sciences, mathematics and business management.

"Jerry and Mark are indicative of the caliber of students Kettering recruits from Miami-Dade College," said Bob Nichols, vice president of Corporate Relations and Enrollment Services at Kettering University. "We look forward to them guiding our student body with a positive and structured vision. Their accomplishments are sure to be in unison with the folks they are representing."

Huson and Kahugu said they will meet the challenge together.

"I strongly believe in team work and truly believe I have a good team to work with," said Huson, who is majoring in electrical engineering. "I look forward [to serving as president] and will find a way to make it a lot of fun."

Kettering University splits its undergraduate student population into A-Section and B-Section, sending one section into classes and the other section into professional co-op jobs. As B-Section leadership, Huson and Kahugu will assume the student leadership roles when they return to classes in April.

For more information on Miami-Dade College, see their website.

Written by Patricia Mroczek-Kettering University and Manolo Barco-Miami Dade College