For a group
of IUP students, a recent trip to Philadelphia for a conference on graduate
school opportunities was a life-changing experience. Eight IUP
students participated in the 2017 Graduate Opportunities Conference on April
21–23, accompanied by two graduate students who represented IUP at the college
fair held during the event.
Pennsylvania State Senator Vincent Hughes created
the conference almost 30 years ago, and it continues to inspire minority
college students to pursue their dreams.
The trip was funded
jointly by the office of IUP President Michael Driscoll and the Center for
Multicultural Student Leadership and Engagement.
was loaded with guest speakers and information sessions that inspired the
students to look beyond their undergraduate programs and see what opportunities
exist for master’s and doctoral degrees, as well as law and medical schools.
“This was one of the best experiences I’ve had in college,”
said senior Amirah Macon, a criminology major from Cheltenham.
“I think we
all had epiphanies this weekend,” Macon said. “We all said that we heard
something from a speaker that made something click in every one of us.”
The IUP students
agreed that they were impressed with how the conference speakers linked the
value of a graduate degree to their present career, and how no student should
feel limited in the options they have to earn one.
speakers for the weekend included actress Sheryl Lee Ralph-Hughes, attorney
Barbara Arnwine, physician and CEO Therman Evans, and relationship
therapist Argie Allen-Wilson. There were also information sessions and
panel discussions on topics such as taking graduate admissions tests, potential
careers, networking, and financing a graduate degree.
to Macon, IUP students attending the conference included Rebecca Colón, of Philadelphia;
Essence Davis, of Chester; Trishana
Gordon, of Philadelphia; Selena Hawkins, of West Chester; Terraine Johnson, of Philadelphia; Geo Ramsey-Miller,
of Munhall; and Diamond Walker, of Philadelphia.
students, Terrance Hudson, of State
College; and Jamaal Gosa, of Linden, New Jersey, represented IUP at the college fair,
which was held on the final day of the event.
“It’s very gratifying to know that the
students had a remarkable set of experiences that will help to transform their
next steps for their futures,” Driscoll said. “This program could not happen
without the ongoing support of Senator Hughes or without a great team in IUP’s
Student Affairs Division to coordinate this effort.”
more than 20 other colleges and universities attended the conference.
hospitality management major, said the weekend’s activities energized him for
what possibilities lay ahead.
was to reach out to minorities, to come together and get together people who
are in the same situation,” he said. “This experience will definitely help
empower us for the future. It showed me options. Sometimes you want to do
something, but you don’t know the right path. Now we know.”
graduate student in the IUP Student Affairs in Higher Education program, said he
gained reassurance that he is headed in the right direction.
conference speakers and programs showed us what’s possible,” he said. “Now I
know it’s something I definitely want to do. It reassured me that I’m doing the
she was so inspired that she wants to help to make sure other students next
year get the opportunity to attend this annual conference. To do that, she has
started working to create a fund that would pay for IUP’s representation next
year and in many years to come.
“I just want
to make sure this continues,” she said. “I want other students to go to this.”
she would encourage any minority student to attend.
asks me,” she said, “my advice is go! You
have to go.’”
Photo 1 (group at table): Amirah
Macon, Rebecca Colon, Selena Hawkins, Diamond Walker, Trishana Gordon, Geo Ramsey-Miller, Terraine
Johnson, and Essence Davis
Photo 2: Michael
Driscoll, IUP president; Theo Turner, director of the Center for Multicultural Student
Leadership and Engagement; Dayona
Whittaker, Diamond Walker, Amirah Macon, and Terraine
Johnson; Rebecca Colón, Selena Hawkins, and Essence Davis