My internship has truly shaped and helped me learn so much about myself and others in a matter of only a few weeks. Our work entails using our platform and research to advocate for students and problems regarding higher education. Following preparation and execution of the New Leadership Academy conference, I have been helping with research projects and workshops. I am an intern at the National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good. This amazing office is located inside the School of Education.
A couple of weeks into my internship, an unexpected announcement came to me. I was asked to speak in front of a workshop panel of university faculty, staff, and administrators, along with one of my co-interns. To prepare, I had to look into federal, state, and district policies along with challenges Latinx and first generation students face in a 4-year university. Although I knew participating was optional, I was ready to finally share my story. Although it was an emotional journey, I wanted to share the adversity and experiences I faced while growing up, in the college admission process, and during my first year at the University of Michigan. As a student who grew up in a marginalized community holding many identities, I wanted to make sure that the people who could support us and change university policy, be truly aware of the problems students face in the educational system.
I shocked myself to see how comfortable I was speaking to an audience when just a year ago, I had problems with public speaking. I found myself completely engaged and passionate addressing problems that my community faced in regards to admission, counseling, and retention. It made me realize how badly I didn’t want another student to experience the same things. At the end of the day, I was able to reflect on how much I have grown as a student and advocate. I have learned how policies could affect students in many ways and how we can inform staff of the best tactics to help them succeed. I am truly grateful of the compassion, understanding, and support I recieved from both The Forum and the audience at this workshop panel.