Article by Justin Higgins | Photography by Caroline Cooney | Owl Staff
When she first stepped on campus at HCC, Biology and Physics major Michelle Ramsahoye didn’t know where she would fit in. With the help of the My College Success Network (MCSN), however, she began to find her footing. Working with her academic success coach, Jenny Jakulin, she developed important life skills.
MCSN is a support network for African-American students. However, the program strives to help all students succeed by providing a safe and inviting resource for academic assistance. MCSN provides academic coaching, advising, and a variety of workshops.
Jennie Towner, Associate Vice President for Student Development, says “having conversations about society and race on campus with students and using MCSN as a model for other programs” is necessary.
MCSN staff members work in conjunction with HCC’s administration to provide classes like Success in College and Beyond and Personalized Career Exploration, where students hone their organizational skills, discover their strengths and weaknesses, and find favorable career fits.
Through exercises like a mock interview, Ramsahoye’s coach helped her display proper professional skills, such as a proper handshake and correct body language. Ramsahoye says, “Jakulin tapped into my fulfillment of connecting with others and [myself].”
After taking personality tests like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the Clifton StrengthsFinder, Ramsahoye’s strengths and weaknesses became clearer to her. MCSN gives students theknowledge, confidence, and skills to go after their goals.
After graduating from HCC, Myasia Butler used the skills she developed during her involvement with MCSN to launch her own line of makeup products, Brown Suga Cosmetics.
Butler says, “The MCSN … made sure I was on top of my game and that I never lose sight of my goals. They helped me to become more responsible and realize I created my own future based on the actions I took.”
With the help of MCSN, Butler “learned how important it is to ask for help … If I was having trouble, they provided me with tips on things Icould do to improve. They did constant checkups which kept me on my toes and made me more responsible.”
Tomozia Graves, a Communications Studies major, has been able to show off her leadership through MCSN. Graves says, “Being a peer mentor in the MCSN allow[s] other students [to] have someone to relate to.” Graves will attend the GlobalMindED conference program this June in Denver, Colorado.
Having someone to relate to has proven to be an invaluable benefit provided by the MCSN.
“I loved my counselor because she would come down and socialize so it felt more personal,” says Butler. “The MCSN provides students with a close friend of the school to help them on a close level making it easier to get and retain information.”
Programs like MCSN have adopted game-changing mindsets, offering minority populations at HCC the resources they need to succeed both academically and professionally.