Playing a crucial role in student recruitment, Minds Matter Student Ambassadors help usher in the next generation of Minds Matter students! By attending monthly leadership meetings, Student Ambassadors are trained in how to support prospective students through the application process and prepare for the interview, thus catalyzing a connection between their school communities and Minds Matter.
Student Ambassadors represent a crucial youth-leadership voice in program feedback and evaluation and work with both volunteers and staff to help shape and create the MM program. Student Ambassadors have also spoken at and attended the Brilliant Minds Benefit, held independent information sessions for students at their schools and welcomed potential students and their families at interview day. We could not do our work without them and we are proud of their leadership!
Leslie is a hard-working and enthusiastic junior. She talks with us about her passions, overcoming hardships, and her drive to succeed.
Q: What is your favorite part about Minds Matter?
Leslie: In Minds Matter I am constantly reminded of my capability. The community that has been built for us is a lovely blessing. Volunteers come to work with us and challenge us in order to go beyond our limits. They believe that we are capable of much more than we ourselves think. They are always there for us when we need them. They motivate us to work hard in school and support us in order to be college ready and pursue our dreams. They push us to try new things and hand us the resources we need in order to succeed in our journey.
Q: What is the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome?
Leslie: The hardest thing I’ve had to overcome is the loss of my mother in her battle with cancer. It happened so quickly that until this day it seems unreal. My mom is my motivation, role model and my strength to move forward and take myself and my dad out of the darkness we live in. When I look into my father’s eyes, all I see is hope and sacrifice. Hope that one day we will achieve the American Dream. Sacrifice because he works every day for long hours to pay the bills that lead to stress and frustration. He inspires me to strive in my education and standout. Both of my parents have built the person that I am today.
Q: What is your favorite subject in school?
Leslie: In school I have gravitated towards the power of math and I have developed a passion for art. This has inspired me to become an architect. I am fascinated by the work that can be done by combining math and art. Opportunities offered to low income students like myself at Minds Matter will benefit me in pursuing a career in architecture.
Q: What is an interesting fact about you?
Leslie: An interesting fact about me is that I have a passion for dancing, especially Salsa.
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This fall, Minds Matter students embarked on the first three college visits for the 2016-17 year!
Sponsored by BlackRock Gives
, Minds Matter juniors and seniors were able to interact with current students on the Lafayette, Vassar and Manhattanville campuses. These visits broaden student perspectives and give them a more tangible look at the college experience. These visits also allow students to demonstrate their interests and help the admission office evaluate the student as more than simply the sum of their transcripts and test scores.
“The college trip was really helpful in terms of exploring different campus environments. It was a taste of what college life might actually look like and it makes students think of where they might belong.”
– Brandon, Class of 2018
Follow us on Instagram @mindsmatternyc for photos of our College Tours and other Minds Matter experiences!
Brandon is a dedicated, optimistic and creative senior who is excited about his future.
Q: What does college mean to you?
Brandon: College is the place where you find and mold yourself as an individual. This is the place where you can seek knowledge and make vast key connections. College is the place where you transition from childhood to adulthood.
Q: What is the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome?
Brandon: My greatest obstacle occurred at the age of 1, where my mother was impacted by 9/11. Growing up with a disabled mother has been difficult to overcome; I was forced to balance taking care of my mother, participating in sports, and excelling in school. At times I had to work to put the little food we had on the table. I still managed to do well in school, sports and more importantly keeping my mom healthy.
Q: What is the most interesting thing about you?
Brandon: Most of the kids who go through tough situations like I have use it as an excuse to walk towards the wrong path. My situation actually gives me purpose to be successful, in order to help my mother in the best way and give aid to families that go through similar situations. I use my background as an excuse to make a difference.
Q: What has been your favorite Minds Matter moment?
Brandon: My favorite Minds Matter moment would have to be the ALDA summer program. To be a part of the beautiful NYU campus, making connections, and getting closer with the staff and students was an awesome experience. The summer program molded my goals into perspective and I realized what I wanted to do with my life.
Support students like Brandon. Donate today!