“For me, the Community Scholars Program was such an important time in my life to get acquainted with Georgetown. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, I had never lived on the East Coast.
In fact, my parents didn’t have the opportunity to attend college. Arriving at a place like Georgetown, there was no expectation they would be able to help me navigate the university or teach me “the hidden curriculum” that involved processes like add/drop or going to office hours. That’s where the Community Scholars Program stepped in.
Community Scholars exposed me to life at an elite institution and allowed me to meet peers who shared some similar life experiences. While the program revealed the academic rigors inside a Georgetown classroom, it also provided space for me to explore my identity as a first-generation college student and what it means to be the first in my family to attend and graduate from a four-year university.
Through the Community Scholars Program, I was introduced to the Georgetown Scholarship Program (GSP), which would become a large part of my undergraduate career.
GSP is the reason why I’m still on campus. After graduating from the college in 2017, I joined the GSP team as a staff member, continuing the advocacy work that I began during my undergraduate career. I now have the joy of calling my former professors and the many staff members who supported me through my college journey, colleagues.
What I’ve observed, now being on the other side, is the fact that faculty and staff members devote their careers and energy to supporting and empowering students. By working to reduce barriers and addressing many of the difficulties first-generation college students face, our collective advocacy is creating a more equitable Georgetown.
In my special projects role at GSP, I have the opportunity to build community with students who share some of my identities as a low-income, first-generation college student, and person of color.
In my everyday life, community manifests in meeting with GSP students and advising them on navigating the university; collaborating with distinguished faculty to create a new seminar focused on uplifting the strengths and narratives of first-gen students; and identifying first-generation graduates and allies among faculty and staff. It also reveals itself while working alongside members of the Advisory Board for Affordability and Access and Dr. Andria Wisler from the Center for Social Justice to dismantle structural barriers and to create a whole institutional approach dedicated to enhancing the experiences of not only low-income and first generation students, but all current and future Hoyas to come.
Being a part of the Community Scholars Program and GSP led to my deep commitment to Georgetown. Now, my ability to impact the experiences of current Georgetown students, and in the process, to help fellow Hoyas accomplish their dream of receiving a college diploma – means the world to me. Our society will soon have new leaders driven to make our communities more inclusive and equitable. I’m proud to have helped kindle that fire.”
As Georgetown celebrates the 50 years it has committed to providing high-quality education to first-generation, low-income and underrepresented students, members of the university community reflect on their Georgetown experience through three programs – the Community Scholars Program, Georgetown Scholarship Program and First-Generation Faculty & Staff Initiative. Click through for more of the Georgetown Faces that make up these programs.