I’m a First-Gen to College student, majoring in Engineering and Computer Science from University of Michigan. Both of my parents immigrated from Haiti and I was born in the United States. I grew up in Naples, Florida with the advantage of two cultures and two languages as I assimilated into American culture. Naples is predominately Hispanic, white, and Cuban. The Haitian population was not large but it was tight-knit. Looking back, it was also a challenge to learn both languages and to keep up those relationships of my culture when I was the only black person in my honors classes before high school. I straddled both worlds.
I went to a small brand new high school, Mason Classical Academy, where there were 19 in my class. There were four of us who were black students and a few Hispanic and Asian students; it was fairly diverse for the size of the class.
For college, I wanted to go to a state school that had a great reputation and a strong alumni network. This is why I chose the University of Michigan. The summer before my freshman year, I was in the MSTEM program where we took non-credit bearing courses to get us used to college-level work and study habits. I was also able to make connections and meet people that summer because I had no idea of what to expect. I wanted to find a strong community to belong to right off the bat and that community was NESBE- National Society of Black Engineers, where I am a leader of the Junior Executive Board.
GlobalMindED’s Leadership Program was after my freshmen year. I learned a lot about how to manage myself and understand the needs of others during COVID. We had a series of 90-minute sessions for our Student Speak report and I learned about other people’s stories and struggles, which made me much more compassionate and sensitive to their needs. There were very talented students I met from community colleges and colleges I had never heard of and they are just as talented as students from my NESBE organization. I realized that I am part of a network with a far bigger reach than my college through GlobalMindED. It was a great opportunity to join with other students to share our collective, national voice in the three reports we will have completed by the end of this academic year.
I also have a 1:1 GlobalMindED professional mentor, Hillary. She has encouraged me to take risks and to be diligent about what I want to achieve so that I can make more connections and networks to open opportunities for me. Right now, we are working on getting ready for my summer internship, virtually, at Google. It has been great to have someone launched in their career who can guide me now through college with an eye on my professional career ahead.
At the end of my college experience, I want to look back and say that I put my best foot forward, I took advantage of all opportunities, I studied abroad, I did my best on my internships and I was the best leader I could be. I’m looking forward to being a mentor soon so that I can have the same kind of impact on others that Hillary has on me. I want to be GlobalMindED as a leader and carry those inclusive, generous, and open qualities throughout my career