Jenna Simpson (left) and Diana Martins are both graduate students with the University of Maryland, Baltimore School of Social Work. They have been interning with the FLOC Scholars Program since the beginning of the 2012 – 2013 academic year. Together, they facilitate twice-weekly programming for 12th grade students in the evenings which covers a plethora of topics relating to college and career, including financial aid and the FAFSA, college preparedness and time management, skills to help them ace their interviews, and college applications and admissions.
“I’ve had a lot of wonderful moments during programming,” says Diana; “the students are coming here with so many different experiences, backgrounds, perspectives, and also insights. I’ve learned so much from them. My only hope is that they have learned something from us.” They also do one-on-one advising on a different group of high school and middle school students to better address students’ individual academic issues, which also, Diana notes, gives the students “more of an opportunity to open up and address more personal issues.” Jenna recalls one student in particular with whom she “has forged a really trusting working relationship.”
“We’ve had three sessions, each lasting two hours, where we covered a myriad of topics that are important in her life, including her experiences with education, her family, her neighborhood and community,” all to get a clearer grasp of what the student’s daily routine looks like, and to work together so that she could set some personal and academic goals for herself. “She’s incredibly insightful and self-aware. Working with her has been a reminder of just how multidimensional the students here are, and how FLOC is only a small piece of their lives and who they are.”
12th grade students participating in FLOC Scholars programming with Jenna and Diana have recently celebrated acceptance into a wide range of universities, including the University of Alabama, Pace University in New York City, and Miami University in Ohio, and are currently beginning the process of comparing institutions that they’ve been accepted to and the financial aid packages that they’ve been offered to make the decision that’s best for their futures.
(Andrea Julca is the Postsecondary Coordinator at FLOC).