Taishon Cleveland got hooked on history watching documentaries and the History Channel as a kid in the Atlanta area. Thanks to some passionate mentors at Morehouse College, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in history in 2020, he began to learn what a career in academia might look like. Now, as a Graduate Student-at-Large at the University of Chicago, he’s getting an immersive look at grad-school life.
In the fall of 2020, Cleveland arrived at UChicago as the recipient of a merit-based, full-tuition HBCU and HSI Bridge Scholarship through University of Chicago Professional Education. Bridge Scholars are graduating seniors or recent alumni of historically Black colleges and universities and Hispanic-serving institutions who are selected to spend a year as UChicago graduate students-at-large.
While on campus, scholars take courses of their choice across the University's graduate divisions; upon completing the program, they have the graduate transcripts, research skills, and professional experience they need to apply to a graduate program.
“I got here thinking about a degree in history, and now I’m thinking about an MBA as part of the route to being an entrepreneur. I think a lot about being a change agent in the corporate world, effecting change within the African American community,” Cleveland says. “This year is helping me figure out what direction to go. The whole point is to explore.”
Cleveland is using his year at the University to sample graduate-level history studies with a colloquium in post-Emancipation African American history and to complete UChicago’s renowned academic writing course, the Little Red Schoolhouse. As a research assistant at the Booth School of Business, Cleveland helps screen candidates for participation in research surveys, which has granted him insight into graduate studies in business and piqued his interest enough to take two finmath classes in case he decides to apply to MBA programs.