find a job you love, and you'll never work a day in your life . . . 

I have been chasing after this quote for as long as I can remember. A little about my own academic journey--in 1990, I was a junior in high school. My family and I lived in a one bedroom, 1 bath rental that couldn’t have been larger than 800 sq. ft. My sister and I shared a bed pushed to one side of the living space. The couch was our room divider.

Looking back, I know we were fortunate to still be together and to not be homeless, but at seventeen, I felt anything but fortunate. Worse yet—I had no vision for my future. I woke up every day and walked the two miles or so to school, but I wasn’t on any foreseeable path. High school was just something you did.  I took the courses I knew I had to take to graduate, but I wasn’t building a resume for college entrance. I took electives I thought would be interesting (in other words, no calculus!).

It wasn’t until after I was married at the age of eighteen and the mother of my first child at the age of nineteen that I began contemplating higher ed. Suddenly, I wanted more for my own young family.

 

Things could have gone very differently for me—the odds were not in my favor. To the school system I grew up in, I was invisible. Today, I am committed to equal access to education, and I understand firsthand the value of diversity, equity and inclusion .

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