Moving It Forward: Supporting Underrepresented Students

Looking back on what it was that I
wanted to do in my life, I looked at well what do people do for me and who
are those people. I always go back to Hempstead High School and those teachers there. As a kid who was like struggling and not wanting to go to school, they showed me that there is somebody like who cares about them. The beauty in my struggle is that I’ve experienced so much that a lot of these
kids are experiencing. It’s nice for them to like see somebody that looks like them and may come from the same background as them, has experienced the
same stuff and be like okay, something does come out of this. There is light at the end of this tunnel, because right now is just pure
darkness and I’m just trying to get by. You can’t think of a way out like when
you’re stuck in it, but then when you get out, you’re like, “that actually made
me a better person,” and it helped me develop this skill that I can now use to
help this other person who’s stuck and now I can help pull them out. My research is about educational opportunity, specifically looking at African-American male students as they progress through the
education pipeline. With the College of Education, working with the Dean, we are having the conversation. We want to recruit students of color and we have to
be intentional. A majority of teachers in the U.S. are white, female, who come from
a middle class background and juxtapose that to a student who does not have access to the opportunities a middle-class presents: time to study, time to sleep, time to eat, Internet access… Avid is a national program. It’s
literacy-based, so we pick a book, they talk about a book, and then the kids are
saying “Oh, there’s somebody that looks like me, who’s in college, who’s thought
about college.” The awesome part of AVID is the university, the school district, and
ACT are willing to invest into the community and this is a marvelous
collaboration of three sort of giants coming together to work for one little
child, and the impact is phenomenal.

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