Emphani Aldridge (First 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.
Adrienne Clabin (First Year Adviser)
Although I was raised in a community that many would consider low income, underrepresented and underprivileged, I was fortunate enough to be a part of several different programs that prepared me for the college experience. I had an amazing support system that not only encouraged me to go to college but did everything they could to help me along the way. Though I did not find many of my experiences valuable in the beginning of college, I now understand the foundation they laid for me and ways in which they prepared me for college. Even though I had these programs encouraging me to go to college, I am a first generation college student and felt confused, lost, and alone when I first went to college. Because I know that everyone does not have the resources necessary to prepare them for college, I believe that it is essential for a community to have its members come back to contribute to the community that once helped them. For this reason, I have decided to commit to helping students in my community of Benton Harbor prepare for college and find colleges that are the best match and fit for them, so that they can thrive and be successful.
Erin Fischer (First 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 (First 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.
Kierra Gray (First Year Adviser)
I want students to see the limitless heights that they can reach in life. This all begins with attaining post-secondary education. My experiences at the University of Michigan have fueled my desire to implement change through impacting people, starting with field work. After my service on the Michigan College Advising Corps, I want to go to graduate school for business and policy or journalism to influence young African American youth, especially young women. I want to assist in building their self-esteem and help have their voice be heard on a large scale. My future career goals include impacting and uplifting the Black community. As an underrepresented student, I understand the struggles that many Black students face. I look forward to working with the students at Ottawa Hills High School.
Personna Hover (First 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.
Raul Jimenez (First Year Adviser)
As I think back to my senior year of high school, I remember the hectic nature of the college application process. Luckily, I counted on a very supportive family and I had access to a very supportive high school staff. I have come to realize that this is not true for everyone. For this very reason, I am thrilled to begin my work as an adviser for Holland High School. I think Holland High School presents the opportunity to work with a unique population of students and it is my hope that, by the end of my tenure, every graduating senior in that school will find a place for their postsecondary endeavors.
Juhee Lee (First Year Adviser)
As a Korean-American who moved to the U.S. at age 8, I've lived many of the struggles of the underrepresented minority. Over time, however, I've experienced empowerment through the identities that I hold, supported by the right resources, mentors, and family. My struggles and achievements led me to teaching as an avenue of giving back and ultimately learning a lot. One thing I can take away from teaching children from various backgrounds is that many of them are not lacking the ability to learn, but rather the adequate resources. I've witnessed their passion and drive, and I'd like to help them empower themselves like I did. While many minorities are at risk for lower achievement, I'm proud to be a small force in an ambitious team trying to dislodge this pattern.
Rachel Osmer (First 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.
Robert Sanders Jr. (First Year Adviser)
I perceive myself to be a serious proponent of promoting a college -going culture. I truly believe that increasing the proportion of underrepresented youth who obtain some form of post-secondary education will correlate to higher pay and improved living conditions. I also believe that positive change is made lasting through service within the community. My views, meshing well with those of the Michigan College Advising Corps, played a major role in why I decided to join the program. MCAC has granted me the opportunity to provide community service that makes a difference while advocating for a cause in which I sincerely believe.
Phaedra Wainaina (First 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.
Ashlee Wells (Second Year Adviser)
A strong and supportive network is vital to high school students seeking college access. I have an opportunity to be part of that network through Michigan College Advising Corps. I aim to help students have agency over their lives by equipping these students with some of the tools they will need to be successful after high school. I am here to serve students regardless of what postsecondary route they choose. My goal is to contribute to the culture of progress and upward mobility within the Flint community.
Charnay Wright (Second Year Adviser)
With the rising of disparities in the educational system one inspirational quote that I have held onto was Nelson Mandela's quote "There is no passion to be found playing small — in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living in which education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world." Therefore, I believe that everyone deserves equal educational opportunities. Growing up in the inner city of Detroit I have been placed in underrepresented environments lacking resources and opportunities within the educational system. Therefore, I take this role on with MCAC as an adviser with a goal to help eliminate these inequalities. It is of importance to me to be the resource the youth are lacking, by trying to provide this missing, but necessary knowledge and adequate information on post-secondary education. I want the students of Sexton High School to look at college as the beginning to new possibilities no matter what their backgrounds contain.