Graduate, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist
What schools did you attend? I attended Goochland High School (2009) and Radford University (2013) where I studied Graphic Design and minored in Theater.
What is the best thing GRASP has done for you? GRASP gave me the confidence and support to apply for colleges in my high school career ( . . . ) [and] the assistance I needed to make decisions and get things done in a timely manner. I also won a GRASP scholarship which aided me when it came time to buy books and art supplies for my major.
What one piece of "educational advice" would you give to high school students?
I think the biggest learning lesson for me was tackling one problem at a time. So much has to be done, and I remember making a list on a calendar of what needed to be done day by day. That helped make everything less overwhelming and achievable versus feeling like there were so many tasks to accomplish all at one time. Also, trusting your support team. Your parents, friends, and family are great resources. I remember talking to close friends who had just gone through the application process and who could give me tours around colleges. It gave me more insight on which college was best for me.
What are you doing now? I am a Creative Recruiter at Fahrenheit IT. We help staff companies across Richmond, Northern Virginia, New York City, Seattle, and Dallas. I also own my own business as a wedding photographer and photograph couples on the weekend.
What challenges did you face on your educational path?
1) Prior to college, I struggled through school as I was more of an art student and I went to a Math and Science oriented school. It was difficult to find my footing. I remember being given the option to try out a new school that had block scheduling and was smaller. It was the best decision I made and gave me the guidance that I needed. Now, I know that most students won't have that option but I think talking to your counselors about a plan that works for you and relaying and expressing your struggles to your teacher could help if you are struggling.
2) Now, I paid for college by myself. (...) I was unaware of what life would be like financially coming out of college and what that debt would translate to. If I had only understood that going in, I think I would have saved HALF of what I am paying off now [by going to community college] and been able to further myself in my passions.
Tell us about the Goochland HS scholarship you created. My [annual] scholarship is for the arts, including studio art, music, and theater. It is to help support the small expenses that are required that are hard to plan for each semester. I had scholarships that helped me through college, so I just wanted to do my part and give back.
Mayor's Birthday Bash Benefits GRASP
Extended Hours Services
GRASP offers Wednesday evening opportunities from 6-8 pm at two public libraries for folks to get assistance with the financial aid process. For appointments, call (804) 527-7772.
Belmont Public Library -- 3100 Ellwood Ave, Richmond
Waynesboro Public Library -- 600 S Wayne Ave, Waynesboro
These are standing opportunities for the community to receive assistance in the evening, outside of the school day.