My Journey Back by Kofi Boateng

image000004My personal journey with Middlesex began in the spring of 2005 when I was a senior in high school and was able to partake in two dual enrollment classes at the MCC Lowell campus. This was a huge advantage for me because not only was I taking these classes for free and getting college credit, but I was also learning what it was like to be a college student and what is expected of me from my professors. This made my transition to MCC easier as far as knowing where the buildings were, how to read a syllabus, and where to go for help with assignments. By the time I was officially a full-time student, I felt like I belonged.

While attaining my Associate in Liberal Arts, I decided to be an active student not only in the classroom but outside as well. I was involved with the TRIO program, the Honors Society, SUGA, the Multicultural Center, and even helped create the first intramural soccer team at MCC. Being involved in all these activities helped me become a holistic student. It allowed me to meet new students who shared similar interests and to network with faculty and staff members who believed in me and challenged me to reach my potential. My involvement at MCC led me to have opportunities that I never would have dreamed of. For example, I was selected along with a few other students to travel to New York for a United Nations Youth Summit where we met global leaders from all over the world. I was also selected to participate in the 2006 study abroad program to Ireland. As a first generation student from Ghana, I never would have imagined getting to experience such life changing events. MCC gave me the confidence, support and resources I needed to develop not only as a student but as a unique individual.

00100lrPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20200221140033230_COVERFlash forward 15 years to when I was accepted into Merrimack College to earn a Master of Education in Higher Education – it was an easy choice to pick MCC for my fellowship placement at the Multicultural Center. As the Coordinator of Multicultural Student Retention, I have the opportunity to work with a lot of diverse students who are trying to navigate the college system and develop as I once did at the same institution. Since I was once in their position, I am able to connect with students and try to help them in any way that I can via my personal experience. One way of doing this is through the MCC Brotherhood group on campus led by myself and Professor Gordon Curry. This group is focused on working with male students of color to improve retention while building a safe space for them to network, develop a sense of belonging, and support one another. My goal during my fellowship here is to encourage members to get involved in activities, to network, and to use these opportunities to learn and develop not only in the classroom but outside as well.

EQMbF1sU0AAlbekBlack History Month was a perfect opportunity to get students to participate in the various events the Multicultural Center hosted. We kicked off the month with a one man show on campus with Ron Jones who depicted Black History in America in the past 50 years. Students from Professor Curry’s class attended and gave feedback on their takeaways from this show. The following week we organized a Rosa Park’s Project on the Lowell Campus where we got on the campus shuttle bus and shared a brief history about Rosa Parks and her bus movement. We took students to go see “Just Mercy” – a movie about a civil rights defense attorney who works to free a wrongly condemned death row prisoner in Alabama in 1987. We also took students to dinner in Boston followed by a play about Malcom X during his time at Roxbury as Detroit Red. Finally, I led a diversity dialogue discussion about microaggressions and how it impacts our daily lives. All these activities we organized during Black History Month was a wonderful way to engage with students and learn together. I believe it is one thing to tell students to do things, but when they see you participating and engaging as well, it motivates them to partake in it and even bring their friends along. These events allowed me to do a lot of outreach and most importantly meet new students who I will continue to work with and support in any way I can. I see my role here at MCC working with students as a way of giving back to an institution that gave me opportunities and helped me grow to be the person I am today.

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