Message From the Director

Directory Kathryn Bethea and MKTYP students smiling on campus

Director Kathryn Bethea-Rivera with MKTYP students at Orientation.

Hi and welcome to the website of the Myra Kraft Transitional Year Program (MKTYP)!

Once I introduce myself at events, and people can get over my long and unusual name, the next question is: What is the MKTYP?

I seldom answer with just one word. I can go into a myriad of directions but here, in this message to commemorate the 50+ years of the MKTYP’s existence, I will give its current manifestations:

Our motto is still Knowledge, Justice, Excellence.

We are still a program of people with amazing stories of love/justice, art/beauty, truth, service, resiliency, and excellence. People are our greatest resource from the current students, staff, and faculty to families, alumni, and benefactors.

We are still one of the most diverse programs on campus with students representing different states and nationalities; races/ethnicities and creeds; sexual orientations and gender spectrum; all learning and abilities; different religions and spiritualities; academic interests and career goals; etc.

Yet we still all share in the MKTYP experience and have overcome great adversity to gain admission and graduate from Brandeis. We are gifted, talented, and have a great desire to learn. Moreover, we also share in the ability to be resilient, adapt, connect, and overcome challenges.

There are three hallmarks of the program: Academics, Advising, and Community-Building. In other words, our students are scholars that seek guidance to navigate the university and yet excel in building community for themselves. The MKTYP supports exploration of academic inquiry and curiosity while also sustaining each student’s pursuit of his/her/their life’s journey.

Over the past 50+ years, the countless photos, reflections, art, speeches, and letters illustrate that MKTYP is more than just an academic program at Brandeis. For those who have been privileged to go through the MKTYP, it is a family to share the successes and challenges of life. It is a home away from home.

Fifty+ years is a great legacy to keep going since MKTYP is still needed today and for the future. It is still the innovative experiment created to address the inequities within the U.S. educational system and also to create a sense of belonging amongst disenfranchised and underrepresented students at a rigorous college university. It is still the small learning community to champion educational justice and freedom.

There have been people who have left their unique and indelible marks such as the late and great Mr. Thompson “Tony” Williams; former director, Erika J. Smith; and alumni like Reginald “Reggie” Sapp and Vere Plummer, Esq. who were part of the first TYP cohort. The Kraft family and their commitment have ushered in a new era and sense of pride in the MKTYP’s legacy. Furthermore, our biggest resource are the staff, faculty, advisors and, more importantly, current students and alumni of the program, which are the heart of the program. Our students share countless ways that the MKTYP has supported them in their educational journey. It is these testimonies that attest to the fact that the MKTYP is beloved.

The MKTYP scholars have contributed greatly to the classroom and Brandeis’ campus life in a myriad of ways. The MKTYP is a unique institution in itself as well as an important part of Brandeis that can only be fully understood if one is associated with the program. That’s why there’s a distinctive bond, an extraordinary community, a special MKTYP family that continues to uphold our motto: Knowledge, Justice, Excellence.

Again welcome and thank you for your interest in the MKTYP!

In Solidarity,

Kathryn A. Bethea-Rivera, PhD