On paper, my undergraduate outcomes reflect success, but coming from a low-income and racially underrepresented background, my transcript does not capture the barriers I faced to obtain my degree. These barriers, such as financial literacy, academic and social integration, cultural and social capital, and impostor syndrome, are something I continue to combat as a first-generation graduate student; however, through support from spiritual family, faculty, staff, and peers, I have been able to continually overcome them.
I always planned to go out of state to pursue my doctorate, but I did not plan on going any more than five hours from my home of North Carolina. One of my friends encouraged me to look at the higher education program at FSU, despite it being about 10 hours away. Upon speaking to Dr. Schwartz (my major professor), FSU became my top choice! Coming to FSU was one of the best decisions I made. The faculty are kind, available, and genuinely care about my academic, professional, and personal well-being.
The higher education program at FSU is a pillar in the field, composed of a plethora of prominent alumni in the local, state, national and global community. The specific public policy track along with the program being situated in the capital of Florida makes for rich theory-to-practice discussions and professional opportunities. Recently, I was selected as a Florida Gubernatorial Fellow for the 2018-19 academic year, serving at the Department of Education in the Division of Florida Colleges.
Upon receiving my degree, my short-term goal is to serve as a policy research analyst at an education think tank, association, or school system in the D.C. area. My long-term goal is to serve as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education.