This academic year we are fortunate to have two student office assistants helping us with market research. Their efforts provide valuable information that keep our goals driven in data. Their days are busy with classes, labs, studying, McNair and work. In their own words these young woman tell of their journey to UNH and their committment to learning.
My name is Favour Alejo. I am a Junior, Biomedical Science: Med/Vet major with an intent to minor in Psychology. I currently live in Manchester, NH but I was born in Nigeria.
During my senior year of high school, I came to UNH on a campus visit with my class. By the end of the day, the breath-taking campus and the unlimited supply of delicious food had convinced me to apply. But what really sealed the deal was when I received a 4-year scholarship that made UNH the best financial option for me.
Although, affordability was not the only thing that drew me to UNH. I was eager to partake in programs like CONNECT, a program that academically and socially supports underrepresented students through their undergraduate degree. I was also excited to join BSU (Black Student Union) and participate in other DSC (Diversity Support Coalition) events.
The numerous academic opportunities at UNH were another factor that attracted me to the university. My sophomore year I became a McNair Scholar, and it allows me to conduct my own undergraduate research and explore my future career and academic options. UNH has provided me with loads of unique experiences. If there is anything I have wanted to try, UNH has had a way for me to do it.
Before coming to UNH, and since I had spent most of my life living in cities, I had never been in the woods before. The thought had never even crossed my mind, but now I am counting down the days until winter is over and I can go walking in College Woods again. I have changed and grown so much and looking back, I can truly say that I have “learned” from my time at UNH, not just in reference to coursework or career development, but life as a whole. Many invaluable lessons that will stick with me far beyond my 4-years at UNH, and it almost makes the winter weather worth it… almost.
I am a first-generation Junior at the University of New Hampshire. I am a Latina, born and raised in Harlem, New Your City. I come from a lineage of immigrants; my mother and her family immigrated from the Dominican Republic and my father and his immigrated from Nicaragua.
My name is Caridad Reyes, and I was born and raised by my grandmother in our small apartment in NYC. My mother and father were constantly working to provide a better quality of life for me, better than what they had back in their home countries. Spanish was the first language I learned, however my parents and grandmother recognized that being in the United States meant the importance of learning English. This led me to an English/Spanish bilingual education in elementary and middle school. However, that changed when I went to an English-speaking high school that centered on music.
At first, my educational focus was classical vocal performance, but other studies in science and research piqued my interest, which fortunately led me to the University of New Hampshire. UNH is one of a few schools that is big on research and offers Neuroscience and Behavior as a major, not a concentration. I remember my first-time visiting was on a campus tour. When my parents and I first arrived, we were in awe at the campus, as it was nothing like the campuses in New York City. It seemed like it’s own little town separate from everything and everyone else. The campus was quiet, and my family and I fell in love with the calm, peaceful energy. It was a good fit, and I was excited to be accepted into the program.
Before I had even started my college experience, I had the privilege of participating in the Connect program, which is an amazing program for students in underrepresented communities. This gave me the opportunity to learn more about the University, become accustomed to a new environment, make new friends, learn about the many opportunities offered, and have a first glance at an actual college course. Before starting freshman year I learned to guide myself through campus, I learned where all my classes were, and where and how to get to the dining halls. I was also able to experience college group work, along with doing college level assignments. When I finally started my freshman year I found myself confident in walking around college and writing my assignments.
When I first started my science courses and their required labs I learned they were nothing like I was expecting. My science courses were very different from the AP science courses I took in high school, however, I did learn that teachers are more than happy to help further understanding. I also learned a sense of community with my fellow classmates as we both experienced new challenges together. I learned to love my lab classes as they took a more hands on approach to learning. I was able to learn more about Neuroscience and the many ways to approach my major, through my lab and neuroscience classes.
Although my focus is the sciences, I have been able to explore new passions due to the wide range of courses offered, including discovery courses. I was also able to further explore my love for Greek mythology, and recently I decided to work towards a minor in Justice Studies. I always had a passion for learning more about criminology and after taking a discovery class on cybersecurity and it’s threats on society I decided that I wanted to learn more on criminology. After talking with people in the Justice Studies department, I decided to take on a justice studies minor.
Throughout my freshman and sophomore year I participated in the pre-McNair program thanks to the connections to the Connect Program. At the beginning of my sophomore year, I received the email of being accepted to the McNair program and began my search for my mentor. Professors are very open to speaking to students about their research and are more than willing to help along the journey. I was fortunate to have my academic advisor also be my mentor in my first dive into research. I thank the McNair program and my advisor for being patient and amazing guides with me, and my cohorts, while we had our first experiences in research.
I am especially grateful to UNH for their understanding and support when Covid-19 hit unexpectedly. The McNair staff were more than willing to work with us. My mentor/advisor was a huge support and guide when it came to moving from in person to remote classes and when I needed to completely change my summer research project when accessibility to labs and campus became an issue. Because of UNH having programs like Connect for people coming from low income, first generation and underrepresented communities, I was able to join McNair that not only opened me to research but also opened many doors to different opportunities.
This past fall, I was hired as a student assistant in the Enrollment Management office. Many of my tasks are research related, which allows me to apply my skills when seeking higher education data. Being a student and an employee, I saw firsthand the needed steps to assure a safe return for students and staff back to campus and I can appreciate the work that went into providing a safe space for everyone.
I grew up recognizing the importance of what it meant to have the chance for an education, especially one here in the United States, a chance that my family members never had. I knew I had to work hard to be better and do better. My family is proud of the steps I am taking to have a brighter future. I thank UNH for having such a welcoming, helpful community. I thank UNH for the opportunities that I have had and those that continue to be given to the many students like myself.