What were your original thoughts on transfer professionals/initiatives and how did they change with your conference exposure?
I’ll be the first to admit that I did not know much about transfer professionals before the conference. I knew the profession existed because I had been fortunate enough to be supported by professionals in the field, but the depth of their work was both intimidating and inspiring. There were scholars, professionals in student services, professionals in housing, and even librarians. They all were motivated by the need to make the transfer experience better and as equal as the experience of any other student. They were also given so many of the same limitations—lack of resources, no institutional support and inadequate tools. Regardless of this though, many of them were moved and inspired to continue to bring equity to a group of students that often times gets ignored.
What did you hear that particularly sparked your interest/inspired you?
Students continuously inspire me. As a student at the University of Texas at Austin, where transfer students took the initiative to change the university, I know first hand what it means to have student leaders take the charge. As an ambassador this belief grew stronger. The best thing we can do for our students is to empower them. They are as smart, talented, and ambitious as anybody else, they just need to be given the same resources and respect as everybody else. This is what so many people were advocating for and it continues to drive the work I do. Transfer students are not asking for special treatment, they are asking to be able to start at the same line as everybody else.
What was your biggest takeaway?
One of my favorite authors wrote about the dangers of the single narrative. I was constantly surprised by the different stories and perspective people brought to the table and problems I never even thought about. It is important that as we continue to talk about the experiences of transfer students, we also recognize that there are so many stories we need to listen to and issues we might miss.
What are you going to do next in regard to transfer based on something you learned/ an idea you got from the conference?
Now that I am back at UT, I will continue to support the transfer scholars I work with. I am also excited to become more active with the transfer summit here and provide some resources that I have access to. I have been fortunate enough to have the support of so many people along the way and I want to make sure that I help others, in the same way that somebody helped me.