Prospect Magazine, Fall 2022

Page 18

BEYOND T H E C L A S S RO O M

ALUMNI

A CHAMPION OF SUPPORT Kamauri Cowsen found confidence on the field— and now advocates for at-risk teens in his hometown.

For Kamauri Cowsen ’22, much of his success in life can be attributed to one thing: a good network. Though he struggled early in life with Asperger’s syndrome, he found confidence at his high school in Calumet City, Ill., where he played offensive line for the football team. The team, his coaches and teachers all helped him succeed, encouraging him to work hard to secure his future. Cowsen’s mother made sure he applied to colleges and suggested Elmhurst. After visiting campus and learning about the Elmhurst Learning and Success Academy (ELSA), a postsecondary certificate program for young adults with differing abilities, he decided to apply. “It was a good fit,” he says. “I just felt comfortable. I felt like I belonged.”

fans—and he found that they helped build team chemistry. Cowsen knew he had found a group that would always have his back. Even after a torn ACL sidelined him, he stuck around on the team.

“Even though I wasn’t on the field with my brothers, I still had that bond with them,” he says. After graduating, Cowsen leaned on his network to find a job as a dean’s assistant at the Center for Alternative Learning, an alternative school in his hometown for high school students at risk of dropping out or failing. Now, he helps kids get back on track so they can improve their GPAs and return to their home schools.

“Some of these kids are dealing with a At Elmhurst, Cowsen found his lot of personal problems, and my goal new support system on the football is to reach them,” Cowsen says. “I tell team, where he played defensive line. them that not long ago, I was in their Game days were his favorite experishoes. I stay on them and work to be ence—playing on Saturday afternoons, that support system for them so they feeding off the excitement of the can succeed.”

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