Aaricka  Washington

Aaricka Washington

AmeriCorps VISTA


Commission for Higher Education

Milestones

Milestones

My road in life has taken me all over.
I applied to University of Southern California - my dream school. I also halfheartedly applied to most Indiana public schools. I really wanted to get out of Indiana, despite being a Scholar.
I got rejected from USC. I decided to major in Telecommunications at Indiana University in Bloomington.
Right after I talked to my general admissions adviser, I learned that IU had a journalism school. I decided to major in journalism at the former School of Journalism - now called the Media School.
I wrote over 60 articles for the Indiana Daily Student regarding higher education policy, culture and diversity issues. I even received a couple awards from my stories!
I traveled all over the country and the world as an IU student. To be specific: Memphis, New Orleans, Chicago, Newark, New York City, Beijing (China) and Rwanda!
I shot documentaries and photographs for the Books & Beyond Project - an IU organization that connects college students to Newark high school students to write stories for students in Rwanda, Africa!
During the first semester of my senior year of college, I got accepted into the Teach for America program in Houston, Texas! I taught in Houston for nearly 3 years. I loved my professional experience.
This year, I became an AmeriCorps VISTA at the Commission. In fall 2018, I will use all of my experiences, knowledge-base and skills as a graduate student in order to become an education reporter.
Keep following my journey
Education

Education

highschool
High School
Ben Davis High School
undergrad
Bachelor
Journalism
Indiana University-Bloomington
Career

Career

AmeriCorps VISTA

I speak to counselors, students, parents and community partners about the 21st Century Scholars Program.

Career Roadmap

Roadmap
My work combines:
My work combines:
Education
Education
Journalism
Journalism
Communicating / Sharing Stories
Communicating / Sharing Stories

Day to Day

I start my day by goal planning. I see what schools need help regarding the 21st Century Scholars Program. Every day is different for me. Sometimes, I am on the road all day helping Scholars with their Scholar Success Program activities. Sometimes, I am meeting with community partners about how to build connections with local schools. Other times, I could be working on creating sustainable programs to strengthen the 21st Century Scholars Program, like the Scholar 2 Scholar Mentorship Program.

Skills & Qualities Beyond School

I think the most important skill to have no matter where you go is COMMUNICATION. Unless you plan to work in a secluded spot the rest of your life, we will need to learn how to communicate effectively with other people around you. I wish teachers emphasized the importance of learning how to assertively advocate for yourself as a student more often.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for everyone

1. FIND. A. MENTOR. As a matter of fact, don't just find one mentor. Find plenty. Look out for people at your university or at jobs you are interested in (LinkedIn is seriously a friend when you are in need) and connect with them. Boost their ego. Get to know them. Let them know your aspirations. Schedule a coffee date with them. I can't tell you how many times I did this when I was looking for a job and looking for advice. ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS be willing to learn.

Recommended Education

My career is related to what I studied. I'd recommend the path I took:

undergrad
Bachelor
Journalism
Hurdles

Hurdles

The Noise I Shed

From Parents:

"Maybe you should think about going to this college instead of this one. Maybe you should do this job instead of that job because it's not lucrative. What makes you think you're good enough? Maybe you are reaching too high? "

I decided to follow my own pathway instead of what other people wanted me to do. I broke barriers and moved into uncharted territory in my community and in my family.

Challenges I Overcame

Financial
Financial

I have very similar experiences to First-Generation College Students. I didn't have a very solid support system within my family that was advocating for me to seek higher education. Not many of my family members have ever been to college.