Jameelah

Jameelah
Cal State East Bay
Major: Public Health

Did you always want to go to college?
Yes, absolutely! My grandmother and grandfather influenced my decision, and even though I did not know how I would achieve this goal, I always knew I would somehow attend college.

What is the biggest way Renaissance Scholars helped you?
Prior to being a part of the program, I was extremely embarrassed to acknowledge my stay in the foster homes and group homes, because it required explaining the abandonment from my parents. Once I applied to Cal State East Bay, the Renaissance Scholars program sought me out—and embraced me. Many of the program’s students have similarities—either having no active family members or previous foster/group home members—and the associated stress allows us to support one another. Through the program, I was able to embrace my past, and learn from the pain. I’ve learned to be more vocal regarding my time in the foster system. Despite the horrific abuse that my sisters and I endured, I know that I am not a victim, but a survivor!

Renaissance Scholars is like an extended family; when I’m overwhelmed with school, the staff will listen to me, sometimes providing solutions (either through a tutor or utilizing the campus gym). Another great aspect of the program is the acknowledgement of our quarterly grades through verbal and written praises, and monetary assistance. The program provides tutoring throughout the week and the weekend, and there is also the laptop computer loaner program enabling us to “borrow” a laptop during the quarter. Field trips and social gatherings are also provided.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself beginning my career in preventative care or public health working with pediatrics. I would love to attend Cal Berkeley’s Master in Public Health Program. It is important to prevent diseases from spreading throughout the public. Public Education is important, prevention begins with education … information can move mountains.

My passion towards this career stems from my daughter, who was born with severe food allergies, eczema, asthma, and seasonal allergies. She has given me my passion towards the medical industry.

If you could give a message to all current foster youth, what would you say?
Don’t look at your situation as something negative, but view your situation as an opportunity to develop yourself.

Say to yourself: This is who I am and education provides a way for me to be better. Use your past as a way to push you … push yourself to higher levels. Your situation is not to be used as a crutch, yet use your pain as a way to drive you. Be Determined, Be Fierce!