Modeling Career Options and Enticing First Generation Students

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Modeling Career Options and Enticing First Generation Students
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I would like to focus my idea on the students who do not have role models to follow. The students who are navigating a system that is brand new to them and often times their parents, most directly immigrant students. These students are often times referred to as 'first generation students'. In order to succeed as a first generation student one must be an overachiever, outgoing and resilient. What this means is that if one does not fit this description chances are, one is also not going to succeed in an educational system that is built for a homogeneous group of people, non-immigrants. What we need is people who can show us how to succeed, who can explain the benefits of having a college degree,a professional career, and people who are willing to invest in the immigrant population who will one day be the future minds we look upon. The idea is that we create opportunities within the educational system to enable students to have those role models who have succeeded. Measuring success in this case would mean a college degree or a technical degree that can enable one to have more lucrative jobs instead of minimum wage jobs. The plan is that in high school we use the College to Career Center and get every first generation student set up with semester long internships that will in the long run have a successful impact by inspiring this youth to want to achieve more than a high school diploma. With each internship completed we provide a stipend that can be used for educational expenses. We also enter these students in a database that will be a target for scholarship eligibility, college tours, graduation requirements, school eligibility and more resources. What this means for AB540 students is that we offer a a niche were they can find support, some funding and most importantly a group of people who together can strive for success. If we prepare first generation, AB540 students to thrive and succeed then we will close the achievement gap.
I am a first generation student who immigrated to the united states at the age of 12. During my high school years I decided to volunteer for different organizations because I needed an after school activity. I volunteered for the American Cancer Society, Kaiser Permanente, Canal Alliance and Beyond Hunger. I never received a stipend or internship credit, but I did built relationships and through the years I finally got to meet that one person that I now consider my mentor. I am an overachiever, outgoing and resilient. I adapted to this new society, but I did not know the pathways to college, how I was going to pay for it and I felt that my biggest barrier was being the first person in my family to ever go to college because if I didn't understand it much less did my family! I asked for help left and right, I did my homework and researched hundreds of scholarships, I applied to many schools and developed my own curriculum to graduate from college. I am proud to say that I am a first generation student who has made it but I feel that the need for this to be replicated and implemented is tremendous. I also feel that people who are not as outgoing often times have so much to offer and we ignore it. Because I did it, I feel that other scan do it.