Gaining new skills through on-campus experiences.
My parents were first-gen students. I always understood that to be what I wanted to be and to have a good life, I needed to get an education. College is one of those things that changes your worldview if you allow it to. I always understood that college was just a step to my success.
I am originally from Shreveport, Louisiana, but Omaha is where I grew up. I found out about Nebraska in fourth grade—this was the first college campus that I visited. Although I was also accepted to my top schools, they wanted me to raise my ACT score. So, I get to the ACT and it's almost as if God himself made me literally throw up on the ACT. This was my last opportunity to take the ACT—I missed it. Now I understand that this is where God wants me to be.
At the time, I thought I wanted to be an architect. The program didn't work out for me, so I switched knowing I could still get an M.A. in architecture and later become an architect. I switched to business management because of the relationships I made in the DREAMBIG Academy; I think it was like the best choice I've made.
My brother, an accounting major, hung around the Jackie Gaughan Multicultural Center a lot and encouraged me to come around. Eventually, I connected with all the faculty members at the Gaughan and was close with Charlie Foster, Katie Kodad and Kevin Reese; they told me that I should apply to be a mentor at the Gaughan.
I've been a mentor for over a year now. I recruit to the university and meet a lot of students of color. People that I know back in Omaha have told me that the reason they applied is because they knew people like me were here and they were able to see themselves here. That was one of those aha moments. I was like, “I was meant to do this.”
Recently, Mark Barrera sent me an email about applying to the College of Business ambassador program. I was reluctant to do it as this was new territory for me, but I love it. I like meeting different students from different places and trying to dispel the stereotype that Nebraska is just nothing but cornfields. I'll show students pictures of downtown Lincoln and downtown Omaha—they look just like the downtown in their city. It’s nice to give back and to help the program.
One thing I really like about human resources (HR) is conflict resolution. I like solving problems—whatever the problem is—and finding a solution. In all my positions, whether it's helping a student find a solution or helping them see that the College of Business is for them—it all goes back to helping and serving.
As a kid, my parents always told me that if you can help someone, you need to do it. I have family that works in corporate America, and they all tell me that HR is for the company. I want to go into HR specifically to change that mentality around HR. HR should be apolitical; they should be the people you can go to if you're having problems in the workplace, and they should solve them.
Nebraska is really what you want to make it. I think that the Jackie Gaughan Multicultural Center is the best community on campus. It’s totally inclusive in all aspects. It doesn't matter who you are or where you come from or what you do on campus. If you come in here, we're ready to talk to you and build community with you. I built a dope community with the workers here and in the College of Business. I also built community along with other students I know. I feel at home, and I can be who I am because I built a community around campus.