Every month DJS holds youth roundtables where they have a voice in creating programs and opportunities that they would like to be involved in with their peers. One of the ideas this month from the youth was college, and how does it all work?
Recently, Wallis Norman, Deputy Secretary of Operations, and Melissa Alarcon, Special Assistant for the Deputy Secretary of Operations, hosted a virtual livestream event for 11 DJS facilities to watch a dynamic panel of representatives from Frederick Community College and University of Maryland, who spoke to youth on the college process. Topics included types of colleges and universities, the admissions process, financial aid, and the college students’ perspective on how they made the decision to go to college and their experiences. The young men and women were extremely engaged and had an array of questions, including How do you complete the FAFSA application?; What was your best college experience?; What is the best way to get a scholarship?; and Can you set up your schedule around other responsibilities?
The panelists provided feedback on their experience:
“It was one of the most meaningful and memorable parts of my time working at a college. I could really tell that it meant a lot to the youth and the staff. It meant a lot to me as well.”
Eugene Smith, Assistant Director Multicultural Student Services Frederick Community College
“Yesterday was soul food for me and a good reminder of why I do what I do. I know that financial aid can be a very intimidating process with lots of intricacies and I’d be happy to come back to present and have more dialogue with the youth.”
Shelby Metzgar, Assistant Director of Financial Aid Services and Outreach Frederick Community College
“I left the panel feeling restored. After what has been an incredibly draining year, being able to learn from and connect with my colleagues and the future students was very uplifting. This was/is "purpose-filled work" and I look forward to more opportunities to engage with this group of exceptional individuals!”
Randall Phyall, Assistant Director, University of Maryland Letters and Sciences
“Thank you to MSDE staff for supporting the youth in preparing the youth for the panel, we can see from the youths' questions they are hungry for education, and we need to do more to get the information to them... education is key in planning your success in life - take advantage of these opportunities to learn the process”
Wallis Norman, DJS Deputy Secretary of Operations
Thank you to all the panelists, youth, and staff who participated in this event! DJS looks forward to incorporating college panels in the yearly program calendars.