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Scholar Alumna: Kamryn Davis

As Breakthrough gears up for the start of the Summer Program, we enjoy connecting with and celebrating Scholar Alumni!

This Alumni Spotlight features Kamryn Davis, a youth advocate and organizer committed to empowering her peers to become change agents through education, voting, and civic engagement. Not only did Kamryn successfully navigate her way through college at West Chester University during the COVID pandemic to graduate summa cum laude, but she emerged having set the foundation for a meaningful and impactful career.

A Philadelphia native and one of four children, Kamryn attended Overbrook Educational Center, an elementary school in the School District of Philadelphia. While at Overbrook, her sixth grade teacher regularly encouraged students to apply to Breakthrough. Kamryn had not participated in a program like Breakthrough before, but with the guidance of her teacher and other Breakthrough Scholars, she enrolled in the summer of 2013. Her school had lost its math teacher, and Breakthrough filled a gap as Kamryn learned math fundamentals. Recognizing the benefits of Breakthrough, coupled with her excitement for the program, Kamryn returned to participate for two subsequent summers after her 7th and 8th grades. Kamryn was a strong student, and Breakthrough encouraged her to continue pushing her boundaries and excel.

When it was time to consider high schools, Breakthrough supported Kamryn and her family as they navigated the application process, writing recommendation letters and helping them understand various options. Kamryn attended Central High School where she continued to flourish both personally and academically. Accustomed to keeping busy in the summer (thanks to Breakthrough), Kamryn sought out her first internship in 10th grade with Art Sanctuary. This helped instill what is now her passion for community work.

Breakthrough was by her side when college was on the horizon. Kamryn was a first generation college student, and Breakthrough helped her in the process to search, apply and enroll at West Chester University. The COVID pandemic hit while Kamryn was in college, and so she began creating TikTok videos with social commentary on important topics including voter education and registration, food insecurity, equity and Black history.

Kamryn credits Breakthrough with encouraging her to do something valuable with her time, and get involved with initiatives that better her community. She recalls having had the expectation that Breakthrough would serve merely as an accelerated academic program. But in actuality, the program exceeded her initial expectations – drawing her out, developing her confidence, encouraging her to explore the unfamiliar, and training her to be an effective public speaker. She also recalls that Breakthrough helped establish and nurture lifelong friendships and relationships. Kamryn fondly remarks that “(Breakthrough) gave me three of the best friends of my entire life!” Her advice to current Breakthrough Scholars is to embrace the process, even if the purpose of the work isn’t immediately obvious.

As of Spring 2024, Kamryn is the Philadelphia Regional Director for PA Youth Vote – a nonpartisan collaboration of youth, educators, and organizations working to elevate youth voices, improve public school civics education, and empower youth as civic actors.

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