On Friday, November 8, 2019, I went to work, wearing this sweater which reminds me of Marian University’s then McNair Scholars Program. Across the U.S. and some of the associated territories, McNair Scholars Programs helped prepare college students in the pursuit of graduate degrees. Frankly, I made that decision to wear the sweater not even remembering that the day was one of awareness and celebration of college students who are first in their family to go to college and graduate.

Twelve years ago, through the McNair program, Dr. Susan Bornstein-Forst, to whom I am forever grateful, introduced me to Higher Education Administration life. More specifically, this is where I discovered the significant needs to provide various types of support to talented and promising students who did not grow up learning at home what it takes to pursue and complete a college degree.

As I serve those students, I keep seeing bits and pieces of my education life in theirs. That has been a big part of my motivation.

I grew up under the loving care of two parents who still encourage my siblings and I to go as far as we want/can with our educational and professional aspirations. However, they did not know the specific ways to teach us how to handle our respective journeys in college. But, we know they were our #1 supporters and they were always praying for us. They still do.

My mother did not complete her secondary school (somewhat the equivalent of high school) education. Nonetheless, she never wants to miss an opportunity to show that she enjoys learning new concepts. My father went to school for the first time at the age of 9. Every chance he gets, he always reminds us of that fact, as part of his usually very calm motivation talks to us. Despite the nature of their educational paths, they both later pursued technical diplomas in health care fields; respectively nursing and radiology.

As a result of their efforts, all 5 of us have completed at least a bachelor’s degree from institutions of higher education in the United States, Canada, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic.

Yes, my siblings and I are first generation college graduates. Today, I give a shoutout to my parents, on behalf of my siblings. We could not have done it without them.

As I continue to accompany students in their lifelong journey, I acknowledge all the parents and other supporters who are working often behind the scenes to make sure students are moving upward and forward in life. It is a worthy cause. If you are inclined to do so, I urge you to strongly consider providing support to students who may need any type of support throughout their journey in this life.

#firstgeneration #firstgenerationcollegestudent #firstgenerationgraduate #collegegraduate #lifecultivator #TRIOworks for #GarryMoise