Congratulations to all our First-Generation College Student Graduates!
In honor of December graduation, we'd like to introduce a few of our first-gen grads, in their own words:
My name is Marly Milic, and I came to UMBC from the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute (Poly) to study Political Science as a Sondheim Public Affairs Scholar and member of the Honors College.
I chose UMBC because of a program I was in at Poly. AP Seminar was a research program targeted toward non-STEM students and it gave us the opportunity to do research under the guidance of a faculty or staff member at UMBC. Through this program, I met Dr. Jodi Kelber-Kaye (Honors College) who I came to find held a similar passion for Baltimore’s history and social/political context. Her crash course lecture on race and class in Baltimore that she gave to my AP Seminar class left me wanting more and I decided that I had to come to UMBC for the semester long course that she offered on the topic.
Additionally, my AP Seminar teacher and mentor, Thomas Gregg, is a UMBC alum. Through him, I understood that I would be taken care of at UMBC. I knew that it was a safe place that would nurture me and answer the questions that I had as a first-gen college student without judging me for having them. I needed that reassurance and he gave me that.
I got so much support at UMBC. The Sondheim Public Affairs Scholars Program always had my back. I knew that if I had a problem that I could always go to them and they would help me find the answer. On top of the Sondheim Program, the Political Science department is an extremely tight knit community. I found a lot of friends there in both students and faculty and I can’t imagine what my experience would have been like without those connections and relationships. Lastly, the Honors College is full of friendly folks that create this perfect holistic support network through a focus on interdisciplinary learning, out of the box problem solving, and a genuine care for their students.
My on campus job at the Office of Institutional Advancement (OIA) had a major influence on my professional development. At OIA, I stuffed thousands of envelopes, spent hours in the freezing cold, driving a golf cart, and filed countless documents into the office’s seemingly endless filing cabinets. These seem like extremely mundane tasks, but they contributed to my understanding and love of systems, which is vital to the study of policy. The smallest of gears adds to the overall efficiency of the grand machine and it takes creativity to see how the machine can be improved. That creativity was fostered in me at OIA, where I was encouraged to pursue my crazy ideas about how to make certain things more efficient or organized and I was allowed to let my imagination really run wild with regard to how to improve the office.
Currently, I’m looking for a job. I plan to take the Spring semester off because of COVID and to recharge. I’ve been going full speed for so long, that my mind and body really need a break. After my little break, I will continue with my graduate degree at UMBC in Public Policy. I look forward to a career in public service.