My name is Isabel Banda, and I am currently a senior at Brandeis University triple-majoring in Film, Sociology, and International and Global Studies. Although, I am currently living in Massachusetts, I was born and raised in Fifth Ward, Houston, Texas. I am the Post-Secondary Persistence Intern for Momentum Education and my job is to ensure that our incoming freshmen have the resources they need to succeed in their first year of college.
I decided to work with Momentum Education because of their mission to not only get students into college but also through college. I have learned from personal experience that navigating college as a first-generation student is no easy task and that is why I wanted to join the Momentum Education team. As the post Post-Secondary Persistence intern, I am working with 30 college freshmen who are predominantly low-income and first-generation college students, much like myself. I am well aware of the barriers that these students may face in their first year of college and my goal is to help them overcome them.
I feel very blessed and privileged to have been able to make it to my senior year in college. I am extremely grateful for my mentors and peers who have helped me succeed in an academic setting that was not created for me and struggles to accommodate me as a first-generation college student of color. I have learned so much in these nearly four years of being at Brandeis, but the most important thing I have learned is that my spot here is well-deserved.
I am a completely different person than who I was at the beginning of my freshman year, and my time in college has taught me so many things. I have gained many skills and experiences while in college like legal interpreting, conducting research, and even studying abroad in Rome, Italy. I am very excited to graduate and move on to the next chapter in my life.
After I graduate in May 2021 I hope to return to my hometown and work and hopefully make an impact in my own community. I am looking into joining a local organization whether its education or legal services, and helping the people who are like me and face similar barriers.
— Isabel Banda, Post Secondary Persistence Intern