As a young child, I often in involved myself in “the most of things” when it came to extra and co-curricular activities. The most of things--meaning fully-engaged and spirited in whatever the mission was for me in and out of school. I can reflect onholding my younger sisters hand while walking into the local YMCA to take summer swimming classes; as nervous as she was, I was too. Eventually, we both made it to-and-through the pool, and in time, fundamentally learned to swim. Our mother could not be more proud. This is one of my fondest memories of when I first learned that leadership matters. In that moment, my position by nature, was big brother. As an older sibling, I understood my obligation to protect and exude strength for my sister, helping to reassure her uncertain thought about accomplishing this developmental milestone. As I am beginning to understand the underpinnings of psychoeducational patterns in Black males, I have begun to consider how I was groomed into leadership by my mother who intentionally help instilled this character trait in me, her first-born child, long before that.

It is an honor to have mothers, grandmothers, and godmothers.If it were not for these women being an ever-present force in my life, I’m not sure if I would be much of the man I am today. The swimming pool anecdote and many more stories of formal and non-formal leadership thrusts formed a trusting relationship between my mother and I, because she truly helped guide my leadership crafting early. My grandmothers taught me to me how to take care of home and instilled a great deal of importance onfamily and self-care.I also spent a great deal of my childhood learning about logic, creativity, and expression from my godmother through puzzles, language learning, and the arts. Over time, the traits from these projects and programs have undergirded my potential and ultimately given me a “sky is the limit” mindset when presented learning and leadership opportunities.

Throughout this year, I will utilize my time learning at Penn GSE under some of the greatest professors and practitioners in the field of higher education. Thus far, I have taken steps to be involved at the Graduate School of Education and within the larger campus community. To date, I have taken the lead as the chief organizer for the Penn GSE Admissions Ambassadors through my graduate assistantship in the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid, been appointed asone of the seven Graduate and Professional Student Assembly Representatives for the Penn GSE Student Government, and was most recently accepted as a Lipman Family Prize Fellow through the Wharton School’s McNulty Leadership Program.

I am using these experiences to broaden my network, especially considering the length of the Higher Education M.S.Ed. Moreover, becoming a Lipman Fellow and the work I will do in GAPSA will open opportunities to research and socially impactful both in the Penn community and theglobal economy. Once I solidify a professor to research under, I will be solid in my decisions regarding campus involvement and focus on completing the requirements for me to be strongly considered for a full-tuition package at the MBA/Ed.D. dual degree program I am currently applying to. The full-time, dual degree will take approximately four years to complete, allowing me to do plenty of research and gain practical experiences since I will be studying higher education on a college campus. I imagine becoming invested in the university I finish my studies at and them opening an opportunity for me to continue research on their campus in a full-time capacity. I am completely open to considering a shift of plans. I am a spiritual man; therefore, I believe that none of this is truly up to me, it based on where I need to be.