BlavinScholars.org: What degree(s) will you be receiving this spring and what inspired you to pursue that particular major?
Alicia: I will be receiving a Bachelors of Arts in Spanish and Sociology. I was undecided coming to the university. I think that after taking a few semesters worth of classes I found a set of classes that I excelled at, and felt comfortable with. One was Spanish and then I also found I wanted to focus on sociology – I didn’t want to be aimlessly taking classes to get to the required amount of credits to graduate.
BlavinScholars.org: What awards or honors have you received while at U-M?
Alicia: Neophyte of the Year award 2014-2015 school year, awarded by the Office of Greek life for being the most involved new member in my council. I also got to present an award to Paul Blavin (the Hermlin award).
BlavinScholars.org: What is your favorite UM memory or experience and why?
Alicia: My absolute favorite UM experiences would have to be any and all of the major Blavin events – like the Blavin’s Hoops days, the beginning of the year get-together, the graduations, or the time that I fell out of a canoe with Miriam. I feel like they were always the most fun – and the events that I looked forward to the most because everyone in the Blavin community is a friend and we always have a good time together no matter what we do.
BlavinScholars.org: What are your short-term goals for after graduation?
Alicia: I will be studying abroad to complete my last credits – so it would have to be successfully finishing those.
BlavinScholars.org: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Alicia: Canoeing with Miriam. 🙂 To be honest I’m not sure, but I’m hoping to be in a job where I can further foster my passions of education and equity in the United States.
BlavinScholars.org: How have you grown as a person since first entering college?
Alicia: Since entering college I have grown by being able to become a little more serious – not too much – but enough to where I have successfully put together events and collaborated with different organizations to do things like putting together a step show or an event where the CEO of a bank came to talk to students about her experience being a woman in corporate America. I feel like I’ve been able to hone my leadership and teamwork skills and I’ve been able to accomplish things that I would’ve put past myself coming into college.
BlavinScholars.org: What excites you most about your future?
Alicia: I am most excited about all of the options I have in front of me, because I’m not sure at all about where I will end up after I get my degree. And, as scary and paralyzing as that is for me, I also think that the multitude of options and possibilities excites me.
BlavinScholars.org: What advice about higher education and life, in general, would you give to high school students who have experienced foster care?
Alicia: Dream big, don’t hold yourself to a low standard because that’s what people around you have been doing or because people have told you that you won’t be able to make it. Set a goal and use your resources to get there no matter what. There is always a teacher – they may not be in a classroom – in life that will be willing to help someone who really is striving to reach a goal in life. There is always help for those who ask but not for those who stay silent.
BlavinScholars.org: What advice would you offer to incoming Blavin Scholars?
Alicia: I would advise that they get to know the staff and their fellow scholars as much as they can. This community is one that has given me so much joy on campus and offered so many opportunities that I wish I could’ve gone back to my freshman year and made stronger connections to those scholars. My biggest takeaway from being a Blavin Scholar is that I belong on the University of Michigan’s campus, having come from a background of people who don’t see this “elite” university as something that they can really attain and succeed in. The program has made me feel at home and welcome and it has always shown me that I belong here just as much as a peer who comes from a legacy of Michigan alumnus.