Methma is a Volunteer Representative for Swearer Tutoring and Enrichment in Math and Sciences (STEMS). As a VR, Methma helps plan weekly meetings for the tutors, which are intended to provide Brown tutors with tools to work more effectively, through tutoring skills, knowledge of current education policy, discussions on the role of a tutor in a classroom, or information about the Providence Public School system. She is currently tutoring in a physics class.
An Untold Story of 1.8 Million Undocumented Students
Renata Martin '14.5 is an Access Scholar with the College Advising Corps, working on individual and group SAT preparation, essay writing, and financial aid programming with Providence high school students.
A couple hours a week I attend Hope High School’s “Future Forward” program and assist students with their college applications. Future Forward was started by two counselors at Hope HS in the hopes that more students would apply to college if given the space to ask questions and work on applications.
“So Rosa, tell me about yourself. What are your dreams and what has your experience been like at Hope? You can tell me anything about yourself that you would like to share.” Rosa looked scared, but I saw something in her that told me she wanted to share something. “Rosa you can tell me anything you want or if you would just like to talk about college, we can do that, too.” She looked at me and said, “I can’t go to college. I don’t have my papers.”
My heart sank as I remembered saying these words to my high school counselor four years ago. It suddenly hit me that Rosa “came out” to me and was seeking advice. Immediately, I wanted to tell Rosa that things would turn out okay if she kept trying, but reality proves otherwise. The other option would be to tell her the truth – 93% of undocumented students in the U.S. don’t go to college because they don’t have the financial means. However, I couldn’t give up on Rosa and looked at her and said, “You can go to college Rosa. I was undocumented, too, and faced the same obstacles.”
Even though Rosa instantly seemed hopeful, I couldn’t bear the feeling of uncertainty. For undocumented students, federal financial aid and loans are not available, leaving students to either pay out-of-pocket or receive outside scholarships which are rare for non-citizens. Community college is the least expensive option, but transferring to an affordable four-year university isn’t always easy.
So what do we tell students like Rosa, who were brought to this country at a very young age by their parents without legal documentation or who now have expired visas? What do we tell these students who have grown up in the U.S. and consider this place their home but are not granted the same educational opportunities as their peers who are citizens? Being a first-generation, latino student already has its obstacles; however, when you add “undocumented” to that equation it becomes even more difficult because there aren’t many programs or scholarships that assist undocumented students financially. The unfortunate part is that students have to rely on luck as well as all of their hard work because as an undocumented student, hard work doesn’t always pay off. My hope is that stories like Rosa’s will soon become history and all undocumented students will have the chance to go to college if they desire to do so.
Renata transferred to Brown last fall after completing community college. She received the Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship, one of the few scholarships available for undocumented students. Renata will be running a marathon in May of 2014 to raise money for scholarships for undocumented students.
June 20, 2016
June 13, 2016"I think about opening my mouth to call out goodbye, or to salute her in a traditional sign language farewell. Instead, I stand silently and smile."
Sally Hosokawa is a Community Fellow for Writers’ Group, a Swearer Center Community Program that facilitates creative writing workshops for adults with developmental disabilities. She studies literary translation in the Comparative Literature Department.
May 14, 2016“Club teachers understand us,” she says. “Even though they’re older, they’re not that much older, and so they’re like us and we can identify with them and talk to them about our problems.”
Addy is a volunteer with the Brown Elementary Afterschool Mentoring Program (BEAM), a Swearer Center community partnership that facilitates after-school programing activities and mentorship between Brown volunteers and students at William D’Abate Elementary School in the Olneyville neighborhood.
February 22, 2016
Pia is a junior double-concentrating in Education Studies and Comparative Literature. This is her third year with Writers' Group, a Swearer Center Community Program that offers creative writing workshops for adults with developmental disabilities, and her first year as a Swearer Center Community Fellow.
February 19, 2016I was intrigued by the program, but very intimidated by some of the topics. I’ve never been in the position to talk about gender or sexuality or rape culture.
Tiara came into Brown dead set on studying Neuroscience. After a summer or working with the local Planned Parenthood branch and taking health based classes she realized public health was her real calling. She has been volunteering for the SHAPE (Sexual Health Advocacy through Peer Education) program since sophomore year.
February 16, 2016