It was an impactful experience to be part of the National Forum team this summer. Reflecting on this summer, I had so much privilege to have the ability to focus my work on causes I care deeply about: education and immigration.This was also a very personal experience as it provided me with opportunities to advocate for myself and others sharing these particular experiences. With that being said, there was a lot of personal growth on top of the practical knowledge and skills given to me.
Starting off, I did not predict working on a project reflecting on the access to higher education for undocumented students. When starting, I mostly helped around the office and preparing materials for the National Leadership Academy retreat. This was one of those really lucky coincidences that just kind of happen.
My involvement with this project truly empowered me. Different from my other work experiences that empowered me in a professional way, this provided me with the agency to persist during this complicated time. Collecting and looking through literature, I felt understood. I related to the anecdotes from other students while learning from those that encounter different obstacles. I understood this issue more in depth and how these policies dictate the success for students, but also saw solutions. Ideas on possible steps for educators and universities to take and policies that can be put in place were all tangible ways of moving forward. However, students on their own also crafted their own solutions.
I’m grateful that with this opportunity I was able to meet new people and groups that provide support. Perhaps this biased, but the staff at the National Forum are among the best within the ‘leaders and best’. This summer was unexpected, but I’m excited to start this school year with what I have gained.