My experience at Penn State was a little challenging at first because I am from an urban area. However, I was able to join different organizations that helped make my overall experience better at the University. I was a part of the NAACP serving as the Corresponding Secretary for a year. In addition, I was a part of the Fast Start Advisory Council which helped First Year students get adjusted to campus. This organization really helped me because I was able to get a mentor in my hometown, with whom I am still in contact with to this day. She has helped me throughout my Penn State career and is still helping me in graduate school. I was also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. which put on programs for the Penn State community on issues that affect students, like how to avoid debt and how to maintain healthy exercising practices.
Attending The Pennsylvania State University is one of the best things I did for myself. It has helped prepare me for a graduate experience I could not imagine. During my undergraduate study, I was in the College of the Liberal Arts majoring in English. When I became a junior, I decided to double major in African American Studies. I learned to navigate through Penn State very well. I also had people who helped me along the way. One person who helped me was Mr. Merritt, the Director of Multicultural Equity Programs in the College of the Liberal Arts. Mr. Merritt assisted with my books, helped me to find scholarships that I was eligible to apply for, and provided caring advice when I needed it. Having someone that is able to help the needs of underrepresented students is very important to the Penn State community and can be a deciding factor of whether or not underrepresented students stay enrolled at the University.
Faculty were very supportive of my decision to attend graduate school. Three professors, Dr. Mhando, Dr. Thomas, and Dr. Gilyard helped me with my journey to graduate school. From being a part of the Ronald E. McNair Program, I was able to learn what research was by attending workshops and getting experience doing research with Dr. Thomas. I was able to learn Stata, a statistical software, and was able to learn about high school dropouts. This experience helped me to do research during the Summer of 2009 at the University of Michigan where I was able to study how achievement motivation affected African American adolescents. After these opportunities, my experience and motivation led me to pursue a doctoral degree in Education Policy Studies. Currently, I attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where I am on fellowship. This past May I received my Masters Degree in Education Policy. I believe the experiences at Penn State helped me to be adequately prepared for this program. I have no doubt that I chose the right school for my undergraduate experience.