Tag: Scholar Voices>
Growing up as a low-income minority student attending an impoverished high school, it was easy to see the separations between a good education and an amazing education. I wanted an amazing education; I wanted what I couldn’t have at the time, but I knew it could be mine if I worked hard enough.
I was selected to attend the University of Rochester on a full-ride scholarship through the Posse Scholar Program and support from the Earl Woods Scholar Program. Attending UR was the best decision I made, financially and personally, because of the opportunities I have gained within my research interests and things I want to accomplish on the path to earning a Ph.D.
Being from a first-generation, low-income, foster youth background and a proud Chicana, the significance of college itself goes beyond my personal goals. I decided to attend Dartmouth College majoring in astronomy and physics with a minor in education because of the limitless opportunities that come with education here. I knew that Dartmouth College was going […]
I was born in a village in China and my only perception of the world used to be my village. It wasn’t until my parents decided to take a leap of faith and fly more than 1,500 miles to the United States so I could pursue the “American Dream” that my perception of the world expanded. Because my parents did not speak English, I had to navigate this foreign place on my own. I have been trying to pave my own path from the moment I landed in the United States, with both successes and failures.
I heard “you need to go to college to get a good job” my entire life. I was always told I needed to attend a school like UCLA or UC Berkeley because it was all my parents heard from other people. Though these school names became very familiar, I had absolutely no idea how to get there. Until my junior year of high school, I had no idea what the SAT, FAFSA, UC applications and even the Common Application was. As the first person in my family to apply for the FAFSA and fill out college applications, I was met with obstacles at every step. However, through a college-access program called College Match, I not only gained the tools and support to pursue higher education, I discovered the Earl Woods Scholar Program in the process.
From a very young age I knew that I wanted to go to law school and become a lawyer. My father planted the seed in my mind of me becoming a lawyer at the prime age of nine years old. Throughout my childhood I was always eager to tell any and everybody that would listen that I was going to grow up and be a lawyer. I remember watching lawyers on television and envisioning my future life through the lens of those television characters. I became engrossed with law-related entertainment whether it was a television show, movie, documentary or book. What nine-year-old do you know who is obsessed with Law & Order? I was that nine-year-old.
I am currently a senior at Dartmouth College, majoring in Sociology and minoring in Markets, Economics and Management. I hope to merge both my passions for business and social impact over the course of my career. I have been part of many different organizations that give back to the community, including TGR Foundation’s Earl Woods Scholar Program.
In 2016, I co-founded Empowering Generations of Leaders (E.G.O.L), a collective that works on developing young leaders in the community and encourages them to lend their voice in the worlds of art, politics and civic engagement to change their neighborhoods for the better. More recently, I also co-founded my clothing company R.House. With my company, I have been able to provide a platform and a distribution channel for young creatives of color.
As I packed the rest of my belongings for spring break, I crafted a vision in my head of my final semester at Skidmore College: sun-bathing on the Case Green, fun nights spent downtown with friends, presenting my senior thesis at Academic Festival, weekend trips into town for brunch, late-night crams at Scribner Library and so many more treasured “lasts,” as I got ready to move on with the rest of my life.
I didn’t know it at the time, but my final moments on campus would be taken away and I would move out two months earlier than expected. During spring break, Skidmore College followed several other universities across the United States and the world in announcing it would be moving to remote instruction for the rest of the semester in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
I was next in line to speak at the Earl Woods Scholar Winter Workshop graduation luncheon, celebrating my cohort, the class of 2020. Nervous yet excited, I repeatedly ran through my lines in my head in anticipation. Yet, when the time came to deliver my speech, thanking the people who had shaped my journey with TGR Foundation, as I began to thank my mentor, I was surprised to hear my words deviate from the script. “Bill, we are a match made in heaven.” This impromptu phrase easily became my favorite.
My first contact with my mentor William (Bill) Borges hadn’t been as an Earl Woods Scholar. Bill was there from the very beginning, participating in my group interview for the scholar program back in high school. It was humbling to reflect on how much time had passed since then, and I felt satisfied that I could verbalize it with such an appropriate phrase, as though it were the natural culmination of our time together.
When I count my blessings, I count Brian Fredrick, my Earl Woods Scholar mentor, twice. I don’t quite know the process that the TGR Foundation used to match me and Brian up, but ever since we were introduced to each other the summer before my freshman year at Lehigh University, we have connected. Brian was not only interested in knowing me and my aspirations as a first-generation college-bound student, he was also eager to meet my family and see how they fit into the picture. I appreciated his eagerness to involve my parents in this process and learn a thing or two about my Ethiopian culture.
Growing up, I always tried to keep a serious face. Not because I wasn’t a happy person but because I never liked my smile. No matter how many times I practiced smiling in front of a mirror, when it was time for a picture, I would try my best to avoid it. My insecurities made me extremely timid. However, whenever I was able to do anything science or math-related, I came out of my shell. I did not care where I was or what I looked like. I just wanted to learn because it was fun for me.
Fast forward to my first year of college, I was very excited; I had the chance to study computer science at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). I had nearly perfect grades, and I genuinely loved what I was studying. I felt like I did when I was learning as a child.
My love for theatre started when I was three or four years old and my godmother took me to see a musical, in my hometown of Boston, MA. I do not remember the name of the show or really what it was about, but I was fascinated by the colors and music. Something about seeing the performers act, sing and dance gave them this magical glow on the stage. My young and impressionable mind had concluded that to be so talented you had to have super abilities, and I knew I would be a part of that magic one day.
Ever since I was a little boy, I loved science. Although I come from a rural, mountainous Chinese village called Qian Yang Cun in Fuzhou, I dreamt of becoming a scientist. I always knew I wanted to use science to help people. As a child, I would collect plants and soil from around the mountain and mix them together to create my own “panaceas,” ready to cure dying plants and insects along my path.
As a child, I always found myself consumed in art. Every brush stroke required complete concentration, each colored patch demanded a precise amount of pressure. However, contrary to what art means to others, art was never about expressing myself. For me, it was a way to keep myself busy while my parents worked and my sisters were at dance practice. It made me feel like I was somewhere else in the countless hours that I spent locked inside my home and made time fly.
“Go chopethat table—it’s open lah!” These are words I heard every day this past summer as I entered the Singaporean hawker centers in search of chicken and rice, like every other local during mealtime. Singaporeans flock to these large hawker cafeterias to fill up on delicious foods that cost about $4 a dish. These food […]
I was accepted into Boston College on one condition; I would have to complete their summer transition program. I agreed and made my way to Boston during the summer of 2018. During the first week of the program, I experienced an incident that I have still not been able to shake, over a year later.
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States; around 7% of all U.S. adults have had at least one major depressive episode. Among the most prevalent demographics of MDD diagnoses are college students like Earl Woods Scholars. Individuals between 18-25 are more likely to have depression. Based on my own experiences with depression, I’m hoping that some of these musings alongside tips I’ve learned along the way might help.
Although my academic career at Pitzer College has come to an end, my learning journey will not. Two weeks prior to graduation, the foreseeable future was ironically still abstract and difficult for me to grasp. It brought me a feeling of excitement and nostalgia, encouraging me to reflect on my last four years at Pitzer College and six years as an Earl Woods Scholar.
Within two and a half weeks, I realized the significance and impact of friendship on the other side of the globe. I have had friends back home for years, many of whom I met during my first two years at Stony Brook University in New York. However, the ones I met throughout my study abroad experience in Florence, Italy were memorable. These friends were significant because through them and my short time abroad, I came to realize something about myself and learned exactly how I was meant to live my life.
With graduation on the horizon, I cannot help but reflect on my personal growth over the last four years. College has definitely served as a formative experience in my life – one where I’ve had several opportunities to critically engage with my identity.
The summer of sophomore year can be a very difficult time in the life of the average college student. Between choosing a discipline and finding a career, there is an overwhelming amount of pressure on the student to find a project that will help them further their professional goals. For many, summer plans usually involve taking on internships, doing research or enrolling in summer courses while others decide to work or take trips around the world. During the summer of my sophomore year at the University of California, Berkeley, I had the privileges of doing a little bit of both. Through my Anthropology class, I spent several weeks exploring, working in and experiencing the breathtaking beauty that is Peru.
We called ourselves “The First Five.” That summer of 2008, Avni, Omar, Pau, Stephanie and I (thought we) were the coolest kids at the TGR Learning Lab. In our pre-planned, color-coordinated outfits, we assisted teachers and students in building mouse trap cars and launching rockets.
Interspersed with all the fun, we learned from community and business leaders how to build our résumés, network with professionals and present with confidence. I’m not entirely sure, but I think that was the last time I ended a presentation with an awkward grin and a “…So yeah.” In my current position as an Academic Counselor at UC Irvine, I enjoy mentoring students through college and toward their graduate school and career goals.