My parents were the first out of both their families to migrate from Jamaica to the United States. Coming from a Caribbean background, the importance of education was always emphasized in my household. This was the main impetus for me to excel in school and commit myself to a rigorous pursuit of higher learning. Not until the McNair program did I realize that I could turn my love of learning into a lifelong career.
While at Boston College, I randomly stumbled on the program at the Learning to Learn office. I was excited about the challenge of working with a professor on a research topic of my choice. The difference between researching as a McNair scholar and completing a course assignment is that during McNair, I was empowered to devise my own study and had to work at my own pace—not simply meeting a series of deadlines for a course grade. The essential part of the program, however, was being able to work in a cohort of scholarly peers who were genuinely interested in what I was studying. McNair also gave me the opportunity to travel nationwide to present at undergraduate research conferences and attend professional conferences in my field. Connecting with my peers made me realize that I was a part of something bigger than just a program at my school. Students across the country were thinking about new ways to understand and improve our society.
Currently, I am working for the Harlem Children’s Zone in New York. I have also recently applied to doctorate programs in communications and cultural studies at top-tier research universities across the country and am anxiously awaiting the admissions decisions. The application fee waiver granted because of my participation in McNair was an instrumental component of that process. It allowed me the flexibility to explore an array of programs and universities.
The McNair program opened me to the business of knowledge. I learned to methodically generate new and insightful questions that not only expand my knowledge base, but address issues that can help improve society overall. As a direct result of this program, I am now aggressively pursing a career as a professor, author, and documentarian.