From Loss to Understanding & Success

My time as a university student has not been easy, but this fact has proven the importance of the college experience. As a high school student, I spent years struggling to find balance and academic inspiration. So, when I was accepted to Duquesne University it marked an opportunity to redefine myself as a student.

Just before the start of my freshman year, I was forced to endure devastating news, the passing of my mother. I began my first year with a confluence of emotions: frustrated and anxious, but inspired nonetheless. Losing such an important person sparked what would become a burning desire for understanding.

Through my first few semesters I fought to find direction for my studies, but also met people who would grow into my closest friends. We cultivated strong relationships that encouraged discussion of new ideas and perspectives of the world. At this point, I encountered the Sister Thea Bowman Foundation. I saw many similarities between how Sr. Thea had touched the world and how my mother, as a woman of deep faith, had touched the people around her. Shortly after, my aunt became an art teacher at Sister Thea Bowman Middle School in Pittsburgh. It became clear that forces beyond myself were helping to build resources – and inspiration – for my education.

School had come to offer me great connections with others, and a means to pursue understanding in the world. I fell in love with words, language, information, and Scripture alike. The Foundation certainly helped to fuel my pursuit of insight. This, coupled with a lifetime interest in the arts, helped me to find an academic identity. For the first time, my life passions and my studies became one in the same.

While my time as a student at Duquesne was far from perfect, it did change and encourage me as
a person. I graduate having been challenged and affirmed, but mostly instilled with gratitude. Thank you for the means to pursue understanding beyond myself, for the people I have I met, and the person I have become.

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