My name is Tomozia Graves, and I am from Baltimore, MD. I am a first-generation college student and I have been selected to be an Ambassador for GlobalMindED/ Every Learner Everywhere. I am a senior at Towson University, majoring in Communication Studies, minoring in Business Communications & Liberal Arts with the anticipation of graduating in the Spring of 2021 with my Bachelor of Science degree.
Being the youngest of six including three step-siblings, from an early age I have experienced many lessons and challenges. I believe my ethnicity has impacted my educational experience more than anything. I attended a predominantly white school as an elementary student and remembering my experience today, all I wanted to do is fit in. My hair had to be styled nicely every day, I felt that I had to act a different way than what I am used to, and I had to be polished academically. I have struggled in school due to the fact that I learn differently from others, and it took me longer to process certain information. At that particular elementary school, I felt that I was not good enough and that I couldn’t be like everyone else. I remember when the Vice Principal tried to persuade my mother to hold me back a year in school because of my learning disabilities. The Vice Principal made my mother feel small and that her voice didn’t matter. However, my mother believed that I could truly succeed and demanded that I receive as much support as they could offer.
Although I have experienced struggles in my academics, I did not let that hinder me in my educational journey. It only pushed me to go further. My drive allowed me to stand out in any job/internship/career, due to my dedication and hard work ethic. I attended Harford Community College; achieving an associate degree in Spring 2019; beginning at Towson University in Fall 2019 as a Full-Time student, while also working two part-time jobs; continuing to be active in many extracurricular activities, while taking care of my family. That drive has not changed but only grown. I have completed an internship over the summer of 2020 at a mortgage company as a Marketing Assistant. My experience as an intern was very informative and has truly allowed me to grow and enhance in many skills. I have always enjoyed being creative and learning, and marketing allowed me to express myself. My supervisor saw my passion working towards my achievements, which then led to me being hired on as a Coordinator. For my career goal, I have hopes of working in a nonprofit organization. I have not only been a peer-mentor at my school, but I also, currently work as a Peer Advising Assistant at Harford Community College. I have had the experience of assisting students with scheduling and applying for graduation, I also give them tips from my personal experience being a student at HCC. Being an alumni of HCC allows me to personally connect with students, allowing them to feel comfortable and give them confidence that they can make it through their struggles.
Looking back at my challenges academically and looking where I am now, I am truly proud of myself and my accomplishments because if it weren’t for the Vice Principal and the advocacy of my mother, I would not have the mindset I have today, which is to fight to succeed in life. I have struggled mentally, physically and spiritually; and through it all I maintained it with grace and humility. I am proud of how far I have come and that I did not let a few negative words stop me from becoming the best parts of me. I have hopes of becoming a mentor to others, spreading encouragement and telling/learning stories. I advocate for mental health awareness, as well as discussing topics on social issues, and sharing my personal experiences to help others.
The Ambassador Program and the GlobalMindED Leadership Program has influenced my professional path in a superior way, allowing me to be one step ahead of where I need to go. I have networked with many other students across the world and staff members who share similar goals of mine. I also was able to attend my very first panel, the Online Learning Consortium (OLC), which was one of my greatest achievements. Having the ability to speak on certain issues and having a voice for people who are like me, who experience similar situations. My professional mentor, Sarah, has been a true motivator and supporter for me, and with any decision I make I feel confident with the words and wisdom she gives. The Ambassador Program allows me to step into the role I have always dreamed of being in and that’s being another voice, spreading love and positivity into this world.