Leaving a legacy

Kyle Beloin

Kyle Beloin, a senior political science and philosophy major, is driven to make a positive difference for the next generation of students. That’s why he worked for two years as director for the Philosophy Mentor Program, a group that visits local high schools and provides philosophy-oriented insight into the course material students are learning.

“We go to the high schools and we give these talks for students of all ages,” Beloin says. “We then set up lesson plans that complement whatever they’re looking at. It’s a really awesome experience.”

Beloin thoroughly enjoys helping students expand their world views, and he understands more deeply than most the difference that mentors can make. However, if it weren’t for the help of one scholarship, he may never have had the chance. As a former foster child, he faced significant obstacles to higher education from the outset; according to the Children’s Advocacy Institute at the University of San Diego School of Law, only about two percent of former foster children earn a university degree, compared to the 55 percent of the general U.S. population who attend college after graduating high school.

The Blavin impact

Beloin had nearly completed his first year at the university when he heard about the Blavin/Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation (AFFCF) Scholars Program. Paul and Amy Blavin, who are Scottsdale-based philanthropists, created the program at Northern Arizona University in 2010 to provide funding for foster kids who have “aged out” of the system. Beloin applied for funding through the program, and was surprised and grateful to find out later that he had been named a Blavin Scholar.

“That was quite an interesting position to find myself in. I was worrying about applying for loans since I don’t have anyone to cosign,” Beloin says. “And now I can just worry about school and that’s it. That’s something that not a lot of people get, let alone us foster kids. I consider myself very lucky.”

Educating the community on political issues

With the help of the Blavin scholarship, Beloin set out to earn his education – and to figure out a way to help others. He excelled in the classroom, and presented at the 2012 Undergraduate Symposium, an event designed to showcase student work for the Flagstaff community. He also expanded his work beyond the university: in his role as director of the Philosophy Mentor Program, he travels around the state to give lectures and present papers about his work.

After graduation, Beloin intends to stay in Arizona. Though he’s not entirely sure what his future will look like, Beloin wants to create a new legacy by using his knowledge and experience to help solve issues at state and national levels.

“This kind of degree equips you with skills that allow you to participate effectively in public conversation,” Beloin says. “That aspect of my education is going to allow me to accomplish, and help other people accomplish, really awesome things in the world, or in the state, or in the country. It’s something that’s really hard to come across at the university level and something that I’m very grateful to have gained from my time at the university.”