As a first generation, Hispanic college student, applying, attending, and graduating from college was more challenging than I ever thought. However, I was able to make it because I had so many people helping and encouraging me throughout my college years. Without their influences, I wouldn't have believed in myself. Throughout college my passion for outreach and college access has grown tremendously, and I am very excited and motivated to be a college adviser at Holland High School. With a Hispanic population of 46% at Holland High School, I will be working hard to increase the number of first generation Latinos going to college. I had many people in my life encouraging me to get an education and supporting me, and I aim to be one of those people for all of my students. I am excited to start my position with MCAC, help and learn about my students, and to work with some amazing college advisers.
Emphani Aldridge (Second Year Adviser)
Philosopher John Dewey once said, "Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself." My motivation behind applying to the Michigan College Advising Corps lies in my desire to encourage young people to have dreams and goals and to be brave enough to pursue them. Being a minority student—in many ways—I understand how easy it can be to get discouraged and to feel like your efforts are in vain. Also, I understand what it means to want something, but not know how to get it. Knowledge is power, and this is something that is not being stressed to young people today. Through MCAC, I hope to guide members of the younger generation to success by sharing my knowledge, reinforcing their goals, and demonstrating the importance of attaining education after high school--therefore, empowering students to be the masters and mistresses of their own fates. I want to be a resource and support system as they work to make their dreams a reality and realize their great potential for self-efficacy. I am eager and enthused to work with the students at UPrep and help navigate their journeys to post-secondary education.
Irma Maribel Andrade (First Year Adviser)
As a first-generation minority student, I am firmly aware of the obstacles underserved students face in regards to college access. My own experience is marked by single handedly navigating the entire process without any college access knowledge or guidance from school staff, but with support from my family. I know what it is like to struggle through the college application process, and I know how it feels to struggle while learning to navigate your way through the first years of college. But I also know what it takes to succeed. I have chosen to dedicate myself to serving students as a resource for post-secondary education opportunities because of my learned experiences. It is my hope to make the path easier for students so that they will not be discouraged from success. I want the students of Northwestern High School in Flint to experience a college-going culture in their school, and I am determined to be one of the voices telling them that they can pursue post-secondary education opportunities.
Erin Burke (First Year Adviser)
I believe access to higher education is the most powerful tool a person can have, yet it is not always easy to achieve. During my own high school experience, I figured out quickly just how important proper guidance is during the college application process. Without help and support from someone who understands the intricacies of the process, it would have felt impossible and overwhelming for me to navigate on my own. I received the most guidance from my older sister and I am very grateful to have had someone close to me during that time. It is my goal this year to provide the same support for my students. I will provide the same resources and guidance that my sister gave me so they too can make their college dreams a reality. In the future I plan to attend graduate school in Higher Education so I can continue to improving access to higher education for all students. I am very excited to work with the students of Saginaw High School – Go Trojans!
Emma DeJonge (First Year Adviser)
As a College Adviser, I want to be someone who recognizes, celebrates, and encourages youth and their efforts. I want to empower students to believe that they do matter, that they can succeed, and that they can change their circumstances for the better. Higher education is crucial for changing the trajectory of lives and communities; it provides unique opportunities for growth, self-discovery, and stability that cannot be found elsewhere. Though the rewards of a college education are plenty, the barriers to attaining a degree are, unfortunately, also numerous. I am eager to come alongside the community of Ottawa Hills High School and encourage students to break through these barriers and pursue success. As a first-generation college student from an underserved high school, I know how daunting and confusing the college application process can be. Through MCAC, I hope to alleviate some of the stress and uncertainty of the college-going process by providing resources and support to students and their families. I am looking forward to learning and growing with my students this year.
Erin Fischer (Second Year Adviser)
My younger sister is currently taking the ACT and selecting colleges to apply to. It is rewarding and encouraging to see her excitement around the possibility of going to college in place of the senses of fear and frustration that I felt myself at her age. The ability to aid in this feeling of empowerment in other high school students is why my interest in this program is so strong. I feel so invested in my sister's future and education, and I want to be an Adviser who is just as invested in the students that I will be working with.
Ellen Goedert (Second Year Adviser)
I believe that everyone should have access to higher education and that all students can be successful if given the right tools and resources. In high school, I saw firsthand how difficult navigating the college process can be for students and families, particularly in underserved communities. When resources are limited, many students feel that their future opportunities are limited as well. I watched as many of my peers opted not to pursue higher education, not because they did not want to, but because they felt like they could not. During my time at the University of Michigan, I developed an interest in social justice and gained a better understanding of the struggles I had witnessed in high school. I was drawn to MCAC because of my hometown experiences and I wanted to serve as a resource to students in discovering that there are opportunities available to them and that they have the ability to pursue higher education. I hope to provide support to students of all backgrounds in securing their post-secondary plans. Finally, I wanted to be a part of MCAC because I believe that this program provides opportunities that can be life changing, not only for the students, but for the advisers as well. I am very excited to both serve as a resource to the students of Jackson High School, as well as have the chance to learn from them and further my interest in social justice.
Personna Hover (Second Year Adviser)
I truly believe that education is the most rewarding investment one can ever make because no one can take it away. Higher education promotes self-growth and development, and I truly believe there is no other experience like it. Though I am convinced education is beneficial to everyone, I also understand the barriers that exist among minorities and low income students first hand. Because of this reality, I have dedicated the next year of my life to helping students gain access to postsecondary education in efforts to close the gaps that we see among these demographics. As my own experience mirrors many of my students', I hope to serve as a resource and mentor, but most of all, a role model. I know the impact one person can have on a young person's life and I am ready to be that person for my students.
Alexa Lynch (First Year Adviser)
Education has been an extremely important value that has been instilled in me ever since I was a child, and even when many of my family members did not complete their own education, they made it a first priority for my siblings and me. Constantly working with youth during my undergraduate career at the University of Michigan sparked my interest in education, and I discovered that I loved to be a resource for students pursuing higher education. I hope to expose students to the benefits and opportunities of working toward a higher education and to motivate them to successfully complete what they set out to do. Through MCAC, I am excited to be able to continue to do work that I am genuinely passionate about and positively impact the community around me.
Rachel Osmer (Second Year Adviser)
College education is crucial for pursuing the "American Dream," and so many people don't have a fair opportunity to receive a college degree. As an adviser for MCAC, I hope to increase the college-going culture for underrepresented students and help in a field I am passionate about. MCAC is a stepping stone for me before I go to graduate school and I am looking forward to helping as many students as I can gain access to college.
Danny Park (First Year Adviser)
Discovering and ruminating in my first-generation college student identity birthed mixed emotions of both pride and shame; while I understood that I had become a product of extremely privileged institutions, I struggled to find direction or advice from home. Throughout my time at Michigan, I sought to "lift others as I climb" by mentoring students who carried similar identities and adversity. As a first-year adviser in the MCAC, I am determined to continue my campaign to change the landscape of higher education by impacting the lives of the younger generation.
Phaedra Wainaina (Second Year Adviser)
As a product of DPS schools, I have found that MCAC has truly proven to be one of the solutions to the problems that underrepresented minorities face in pursuing post-secondary education opportunities. Understanding that my high school experience was a privileged one, and that privilege led to a college degree, is an issue. The idea that social inequalities exist in such a vital human need as education is an issue that must be faced. In order to do so and enhance the presence of the college going culture, I have chosen to dedicate myself and become a resource to students who may not have access to some of the opportunities that I did. My hope is that through MCAC, I can close the gap in college-access and increase the college going culture in underrepresented populations and communities. In the end, the success of our society lies in the hands of our youth, so we must invest in those who shall lead us.