What schools did you attend and what did you study (high school and beyond)? I graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in 2012 and the College of William & Mary in 2016. My majors were Psychology and Africana Studies with a concentration in African American Studies. What is the best thing GRASP has done for you? GRASP helped me through the college application process, as the organization aided me in completing my FAFSA [Free Application for Federal Student Aid]. Additionally, GRASP supported me during my time at William & Mary by providing opportunities for me to unpack and process my college experience through their monthly email program. What are you doing now? I am currently a doctoral student in the Health Psychology Ph.D. program at Virginia Commonwealth University. My research examines the influence of race and culture in both the education and health care fields. What one piece of "educational advice" would you give to high school students? I think it is crucial that high school students know that they can create their own path. There is no one model of success, and thus it is so important that high school students feel efficacious enough to cultivate a life that both reflects the future they wish to see and honors their strengths, interests, and identities. What is the biggest life challenge you faced relative to your educational path? As a Black female academic from a low-income background, navigating spaces in academia that were not necessarily made for me and that are still unwelcoming in many ways has been challenging. I have had to learn how to carve out space for myself—how to purposefully and continually build a support system, find resources, and advocate for people who would come after me in similar situations to survive and thrive.
GRASP is a Virginia 501(c)(3) nonprofit that empowers students to navigate the maze of requirements for education after high school and students with learning differences to access specialized education in K-12.