I definitely had a feeling of triumph at graduation! Graduating with a biology degree from UW-Madison seemed to be, at one time, impossible. But with Rotary’s help, I did it!
Rotary was an influential part of my journey throughout college. There were many times when I felt incapable of completing my degree at UW, but my mentor, Jackie Herd-Barber, was there for me. Not only did she offer open ears, but also resources and advice to get through tough times.
My college experience is best described as a rough transition. It was very hard to leave my family when I considered myself to be a provider. Once at college, I was often the only person that looked like me. I often felt isolated and intimidated by the overwhelming majority. And it seemed like no matter how hard I studied, it wasn’t hard enough.
Being a Rotary scholar is an experience like no other. Being able to have open conversations about the struggles of students, especially students of color, with such esteemed individuals is an experience not many have the privilege of encountering. Those conversations amongst professionals and students will continue to be cherished and shared amongst students going forward.
These were times when Rotary was there for moral support and to guide and teach me the best ways to combat these feelings. Just being able to come together with other students and relate to them and their similar struggles was comforting, especially when I was a younger student. Now, as a new graduate, I plan to further my education in the area of perfusion in the coming year.
I would like to thank everyone at Rotary who made the scholarship possible. And, I look forward to being a mentor to a Rotary scholar in the coming years.