Sunday, March 20

You Inspire Me

I spent my spring break in Washington D.C. with Lynn engaged in advocacy for TRIO programs, of which, McNair is one. As before, I was overcome with a sense of empowerment to reach my goals but then it dawned on me how much my determination is influenced by the McNair Scholars I work with on a weekly, sometimes daily basis.

As I listened to presenter after presenter at the Council for Opportunity in Education's policy seminar, my gratitude for having benefitted from my experience as a McNair Scholar grew even greater. It is no secret to the people who know me how my life has been impacted by the McNair Program. I was brought nearly to tears as I listened to Senator Tom Harkin speak about his passion for TRIO and his fight to keep these programs funded. Afterward, I had the opportunity to shake his hand and thank him for everything he is doing to ensure that future first generation/low income and underrepresented students are supported by TRIO programs.

Of course, as always happens on a trip away from my family, there is a lot of time to reflect on my experiences over the past 6 years of my university education. Central in my mind was the work I am doing with the McNair Scholars Program and how I would like to focus my doctoral research on topics that will benefit the program and the people we serve. It was then that I had an epiphany.

There have been many times over the past two years when I was so exhausted I felt uncertain of my ability to reach my goal of earning a Ph.D. This is a common concern from what I have heard from other grad students but this fact did not console me. However, what really kept me going is the committment I felt to meeting the goal set forth by the McNair Program, to prepare underprivileged students to increase the diversity of those attaining the highest level of training in their field of study. I realized at some point, my frustration and fatigue allowed me to question this committment to the McNair Program. In my weakest moment I thought to myself, someone else will meet the goal and increase the likelihood that McNair will continue to exist. It was a low point in my education for sure.

Here is the epiphany: As I sat in my hotel room alone in D.C. reflecting on the past year, I realized how much my work with McNair Scholars has empowered me to reach my own goals. Not only am I committed to earning my Ph.D. because I want to see McNair continue to benefit others, I am inspired to continue working hard because I see current scholars benefitting from program services and I am honored to be a part of that. YOU, past, current, and future McNair Scholars keep me plugging along on the path to Ph.D. YOU inspire ME!

Thank you!

1 comment:

  1. Maureen, I love your post, thanks for sharing. You inspire me in LOTS of ways and I appreciate that very much. Thank you for continuing to be a central part of this program.


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