I cannot gush enough about KC! KC and I didn’t really know each other before this summer, but she wasted no time in letting me know exactly how dedicated and hard working she is. KC is one of our peer advisors, so she’s keeping up with close to 30 students despite being located across the country for the past month pursuing her dreams of becoming a doctor. She took some time out of her studying to answer some of my questions for her spotlight:
Q: What inspired you to be a BridgeYear intern?
A: I participated in a similar program in high school (EMERGE), and honestly, I would not be where I am today without the help of my personal program manager. With that said, there were many times I was too nervous, embarrassed, or worried that my questions were too dumb to ask my program manager for help. I know that many students feel that way during this crucial transitional time of their lives. I decided I wanted to be a BridgeYear intern because I wanted to give to other students what EMERGE gave me.
Q: Tell us about an “aha” moment – a time when you were most excited about the work you are doing this summer.
A: About half-way through the summer, I found myself at a wall trying to encourage students to complete their milestones, primarily the TSI assessment and meningitis forms. I reached a point where I thought I had failed my students and hadn’t been the best adviser I could have been. But then, all of a sudden, students were zooming through their milestones within a week! I was finally seeing results and students were starting to text me with genuine questions relating to college and even their personal life. I felt like the gears were finally turning again and was pumped that students were taking the initiative to ask me questions.
Q: What has been the most challenging aspect of your work at BridgeYear?
A: Being one of the college-transition advisers, I’m constantly on the front line between BridgeYear and students. While its exciting to have this direct relationship with students, I’ve constantly had to worry about sending back fruitful information to my fellow interns who sometimes rely on the advisers for student feedback. Most of my summer I’ve been out of town, so maintaining strong communication with my co-interns and my students has been tough. However, being able to see the program grow from both inside and outside has been a great experience!
Q: If you had to give your BridgeYear experience a hashtag, what would that be and why?
A: #NoShoesAreTooBigToFill. I’ve been grateful to get to know my students and their ambitions well enough to know that they are capable of a higher education but just need a little “nudge.” Unfortunately, many minority students are convinced by those around them that they can’t handle post-secondary education and lose the motivation to pursue their dreams. Through this program, I believe we’ve seriously changed lives and instilled in our students that spark of confidence they’ve had all along but just didn’t realize they had. Even for myself, I thought I wouldn’t be able to handle my position as adviser and have such an impact on my community, but I now understand that #NoShoesAreTooBigToFill.
Q: Other than BridgeYear, what else have you been up to this summer?
A: This summer has been super busy! I’m currently participating in SMDEP (Summer Medical and Dental Education Program) at Columbia University Medical Center in New York. Its a pre-med/pre-dental program for underrepresented minorities that allows them to take two undergraduate courses and shadow at local clinics and hospitals. It’s been a wonderful experience: Life-long friends, fun outings in NY, inspiring lectures by minority physicians, and a stronger passion for medicine!
One of the many things I appreciate about KC is her intense and undying passion. She is always looking for ways to improve our advising services and to better serve our students, and her energy is infectious for our team. Although I’ll be sad that the field of education will soon lose such an amazing individual, I’m confident that she will continue to create positive change through her future career in medicine.