December 19, 2017
Kimberly Bett traveled 7,500 miles from suburban Nairobi to attend WCU. But the distance from home seemed much shorter since both of her older sisters had already made the trip, graduated from WCU, and stayed in Pennsylvania to earn their graduate degrees.
Kim, who received her WCU bachelor's degree in mathematics/actuarial science at the Dec. 17 morning commencement ceremony, shares an apartment in West Chester with sisters Natalie and Antonette. Eldest sister Natalie established the family's educational preference when she enrolled at West Chester for the spring 2009 semester after a family friend made the suggestion to consider the University. She graduated in May 2013 with her bachelor's degree in fine arts with a concentration in graphic design and a minor in art history. Antonette followed, earning her degree in finance in December 2013. Each supported the others as they navigated U.S. requirements for international students, chose their WCU courses, and finally arrived to pursue their education in a new country and a very different culture.
Kim said she found the transition from home a happy one not only because her sisters were here to welcome her and had laid the groundwork, but because she chose not to create unrealistic expectations about what her experience could be. She suggests other international students "be open and try new things. Don't allow fear to rule your experience.";
All three sisters also worked on campus for Aramark/New Street Catering. Kim honed her skills working in Aramark's finance department and also as an IT consultant with ResNet, which connects residence halls with the campus data network. She plans to find a job in insurance or risk management and would also like to complete a graduate degree in the U.S.
Youngest sister Claire also plans to enroll at West Chester. She has about two years left in her secondary levels (Kenya follows the British education system).
Claire and both parents came from Kenya and attended Kim's graduation, along with Natalie and Antonette. In 2017, the family also celebrated Mrs. Bett earning her master's in clinical psychology in Kenya this summer and both older sisters earning their graduate degrees in Pennsylvania this May.