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Ambassador Introductions: Tekajah Lewis

Hello there! My name is Tekajah Lewis and I am currently 17 years old. I currently go to school at Booker T. Washington High School in the historic town of Tuskegee. I am a 12th grader (senior) who participates in dual enrollment with Trenholm State Community College and Tuskegee University as well. When I graduate high school on May 20, 2020, I want to reside in Atlanta, Georgia in my future as an adult and get into college.  I hope to fulfill my dream of being a nurse and/or a pharmacist because being the medical field has always been fascinating to me while also helping out an underserved area of society. For me, education is a must in today’s society so you can never stop learning. Learning is essential because, without it, you would end up saying or doing the incorrect things. I hope you got to learn more about me.

I am a Gear Up writing ambassador because I was presented the opportunity and decided that it was in my best interest to do this as well as to better my writing skills and provide insight for the many high school students in the state of Alabama.

Currently, I do not have a decided major but I hope to study nursing and earn my Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. If I still have the drive to want to help people feel better and take care of them, I will hope to get my Doctorate of Pharmacy degree. The college I had in mind was the University of Alabama at Birmingham or Samford University. If I don’t get in, I have some backup colleges to choose from that would give me scholarships and allow me to better myself in the medical field.

As a teenager, we are pushed to strive for the advancement of the world as well as how we have to change it and to leave it for future generations to come. We have to be able to interpret the world and understand the many things that go into it. Many people have goals they want for the world and ways to accomplish it. I feel that through this ambassador program, this will provide insight and give us a chance to have our freedom of speech and let us help the older generations to understand our point of view on issues of the world. I am grateful for this opportunity to make the world a better place and to be able to give my valued honesty and opinion to the world

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Ambassador Introductions: Tatyana Martin

My name is Tatyana Martin. I am in the 11th grade, and I attend Selma High School. My hometown is Selma, Alabama, where I have lived all my life. I am currently a member of FBLA, which stands for Future Business Leaders Of America. My 9th grade year I was just an ordinary member of the organization. Last year, I became a reporter, and miss Fbla. I participated in town parades, and took pictures around the school for competition time. We took part in many community service events, and I hope to keep my positions this year as well. I was also a member of robotics, and even considered joining DECA, Her Vision and the honors society,which are other organizations at our school. I also do dual enrollment at UAB. This will be my second year taking online classes at the university. So far I have taken the orientation course, sociology, music appreciation and now theater.

I am an Ambassador because I love to write! When I was in the third grade we used to have journal time. This would be time apart from class where we would free write on any topic we wanted to. I always came up with different stories filled with excitement and entertainment. I would even write about personal experiences, but those weren't as interesting. When I grow up, I want to achieve many things in my life. My main goal is to be an actress. From there on, I want to open a mental health institution, a school, a music program, and write a book on all the things I have accomplished. I would do all this because I really want to help other people suffering in silence. A school and music program would help people who are bored and have nothing to do. It would be time for them to really take a self assessment and see who they really are. Becoming an actress would be a life changing experience for me because it would give me the opportunity to show off my awesome acting skills.

Waking up on time for college is a huge fear for me. Sometimes I like to go to bed late, thinking it won’t affect me in the morning. When the morning comes, I quickly regret staying up late because it's a challenge getting out of the bed. I've been on college tours, and every time the professor will always say “It's your responsibility as a student to collect notes and work, if you miss a day.” The one thing I don't like when it comes to missing a day is getting behind in my work. I feel like I'm years behind and everyone else is all caught up. While it is fun to stay out of school and sleep all day, having to make up about four tests is no good feeling.

My family inspires me so much because they always have the best advice. Whenever things go wrong I can count on them to cheer me up. They constantly remind me that I will make many mistakes in my life, and it's called being human. Everything is not always going to go how I plan, so they are that extra support that keeps me reaching for the sky.

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3rd Annual Future Proof Conference

On Saturday September 28th, I attended the Let Us Make Man Conference in Montgomery, AL as a part of the GEAR UP Alabama program. Most teenagers don’t like to get up at five in the morning on weekends, but I just felt like I needed to go for the betterment of myself. I must say that I made the right choice by going to this conference.

Throughout the day we were separated into three different sessions all meant to help us and provide us with information. From beginning to end, we were welcomed into a positive environment with wonderful people taking time out of their busy lives to be there for us. My favorite session for the all female Chat and Chew lunch. In this session I was amazed by four strong women encouraging and motivating me to become the best version of myself that I can be. These women talked and listened to our views on multiple topics. As a young high school student who deeply cares about her education and future, these ladies helped me understand that yes, there will be roadblocks and failures at times, but as long as I continue to be dedicated and work hard, I can become the successful entrepreneur I want to be. I left this conference feeling great about myself as well as my future. Now I’m ready to take on the world, conquer my dreams, and be a great role model to other young girls around the world.

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UAB MiniCamp 2019: Student Perspectives

In May, we welcomed over 400 GEAR UP Alabama students to UAB's campus for our second year of UAB MiniCamps. MiniCamps are designed to simulate a "day in the life" of a UAB student. Rather than have us tell you about their time here, we decieded to use words directly from our students. Here's what some of them had to say: 

When asked, "What has been the most memorable part of UAB MiniCamp for you? Why?" these students said: 

Tiana Taylor, Sweet Water High School

The most memorable part of this UAB MiniCamp was being in a dorm and being in a hands-on class. This UAB minicamp gave me a very real experience on what college life is like. It was amazing to see how big this school really is and what all is here. I loved hearing the UAB students speak on their behalf on their experiences here, hardships, disadvantages and advantages at UAB. It taught me to get out of your shell and be outgoing.

Chemyn'a Rice, Greene County High School

The UAB MiniCamp has been very interesting for the past day and a half. I have experienced living in a dorm room, eating from UAB's café, getting to know administration/faculty members at UAB and walked the campus. My most favorite moment here at this MiniCamp was seeing the varieties of Greeks do a mini stroll of their strolls. Honestly, I didn't plan on attending UAB, but after experiencing this, I now have UAB as one of the choices of schools to attend!

Tanyia Hill, Carver High School

The most memorable part of minicamp for me was seeing the RAD session where I learned self defense techniques. Also, I enjoyed breaking into small groups and asking questions to the volunteers. I asked questions about their dual enrollment experience, time management tips, and their relationships with students. If I could say one thing to UAB or Gear Up Alabama administrators about this experience I would tell them thank you, because they are blessing me with the gift of knowledge.

Keitajah Thompson, Greene County High School

The most memorable part of MiniCamp for me was meeting  up with different schools I didn't know. This experience was very important for me because I love going around talking to different people. A lot of people call me friendly, but I really just like getting to know people and who they are. I would love to come back to this camp and do the fun things we did as in play kickball, have a defensive class and watch the great step shows! I really enjoyed my two days here and hope to come again!

Chrishae Davis, Sidney Lanier High School

The most memorable part of the Minicamp for me was when I got to hear about people's college experience and their fears when they first started college. Now I know how it feels to be a college student and how it feels to be in college classes. I am thankful that I got to experience this MiniCamp at UAB.

Jamee Peurll, Carver Senior High School

The most memorable part of this mini-camp was watching the first generation students talk about their different paths. In my opinion, to show vulnerability and expose yourself to 200 kids that you don't know and will probably never see again says a lot about their character. But in layman's terms it just means that they genuinely care about a "stranger's" future. I am very thankful for that, and may God bless you. I pray that you all graduate.

Socoyia Adams, Amelia L. Johnson High School

The most memorable part of the MiniCamp was the day in the park seeing all kids playing along enjoying themselves because I see that everyone enjoyed kickball, tug-of-war, spike ball, etc. Also, I would like to thank UAB, staff and counselors for everything, including the inspiration. To the UAB students, thank you for sharing your life stories and majors with us. It encourages us to think more about college and to get ready for college they had to become strong students to keep pushing and enjoying life.

Kayla Downey, Sweet Water High School

This MiniCamp has been very interesting to me. I have always been interested in the University of Alabama at Birmingham. This camp has allowed me to see more inside UAB. I am a very shy person when it comes to meeting new people and this has allowed me to come out of my shell and want to interact with others. I am a granddaughter and daughter of two wonderful ladies who are nurses so I was kind of born into the Health Professions. I am wanting to major in Pre-Natal Care and minor in Health Care Management. This allowed me to explore UAB new School of Nursing and also learn more about the undergraduate program for Nursing. For me, learning is easier when it is hands on and I have learned and seen the UAB offers and a lot more in my major of interest. This has allowed me to get even more interested and into the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Being able to stay in the dorms gave me a big eye opener for college life. I have been to UAB a couple of times and this has given me almost everything.

Ja'Korey Shepherd, Greenville High School

The most memorable part of MiniCamp for me was the "Let Us Make Men" workshop. It was really touching and made me think; think about life choices, people I collaborate with and the music I listen to. Dr. White, Dr. Briggs and the other speakers in our session had very excellent points for us (as growing young men) and why we do the things we do. He presented us with cultural, worldly situations that we had to logically think about. He then allowed us to debate with arguments and lots of counterarguments. I also learned in the workshop that your race or background does not define your abilities or intellectual skills in life. It was an outstanding workshop and I would love to hear more encouraging words from them.

Maliyah Smith, Jefferson Davis High School

The most memorable part of UAB MiniCamp was the class with Mr. Wilkinson. He opened my eyes and ears to public health. During this camp I noticed that public health is more than keeping the external part of your body up. Also, public health plays a big part of life. The lesson he gave was memorable because I want to major in Public Health and help and touch people like this minicamp did for me.

Brianna Julius, Jefferson Davis High School

This was my first time minicamp and my first time staying here on campus. I can say that I have enjoyed my time here as well as the information that I have received. The most memorable part of this minicamp was going to the UAB School of Nursing simulation lab. I enjoyed going there because I want to become a dermatologist later on down the line. This camp has really inspired me into doing more research to finding a path to success. I've talked to people who have broken things down to me that I have really found helpful. I really gained most of my information from the resource fair. I talked to the admission, scholarships, as well as the public health representatives. I enjoyed activities we did but felt like we could do more. Being that UAB is my dream school I really have enjoyed this camp. My class was really well: I found that I am better in math then I tell myself; I never really doubt myself but I am very hesitant.

Destiny Price, Pike County High School

For me, the most memorable part of UAB MiniCamp was the Resource Fair. The reason it was my favorite part of the minicamp was because it was very informative. Also, you got to know the people at each and every table. They gave you all types of information on the campus and what UAB has to offer. Learning about the different programs and scholarships really made me think about a possible future at UAB. I also enjoyed RAD night. I like how they taught us different techniques to use against people. It was a fun, yet influential experience. There were so many things to do and learn from. I love to have been given this opportunity.

Kwantavius Lawson, Jefferson Davis High School

If I could say one thing about my experience at UAB MiniCamp, it would be motivational. I would say this because there were a lot of students whose backgrounds are similar to mine. For instance, one of the students stated that he did not have a strong support system, which I can relate to. The experience taught me that I am not alone. It taught me that it is okay to be afraid but it is not a bad idea. Everyone has a full potential and that potential can be reached when you apply yourself and be passionate about what you want to become.

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It Was Both a Fast and Slow Year

This year has really had its difficulties for me. I thought so many times, “Naudia you should just give up already it is too hard.” I’ve been through so much this year it is so crazy, but with God by my side I knew I just couldn’t give up because there are way too many people in my life counting on me. This school year threw many hard challenges my way, but I managed to get through it, so I can graduate from Goshen High School and go to a wonderful college. I only have one class that is hard, but i am doing great as of right now. Algebra two with trig gets complicated if you miss a day of school. I try very hard not to miss school because i have responsibilities as an Ambassador to have good grades and attendance. I took the ACT twice in the beginning of the seester and I was not very happy with my score. I was very shocked and disappointed in myself, but I am going to take it again no doubt. I am going to go even harder when I take it again. I am aiming for a twenty one or higher because I want to go to a good college.

I have set several goals for myself than I did last year and the year before that. Other than that, the school year has gone by fast. This school year taught me a lot of stuff on how to be more responsible and better myself not just in school. This school year went by slow and fast at the same time, if that makes any sense. I’ve had many times when I had assignments due and I thought I wasn’t going to turn it in on time. I stayed up knowing I was missing hours of sleep just to get my assignments done. I had to do whatever it took to get it done. I’ve had many setbacks this school year that really stopped me from achieving what I had to. I’ve had my darks times when I lost my great grandma and other family members. I wasn’t sure if I was going to get back on my feet and continue getting good grades. I wasn’t getting enough sleep because I was up all night thinking about everything. It was a very tough time for me when all those crazy things happened this year. My grades starting dropping to B’s and after I had all A’s. Then when I had a long and deep talk my mom, she helped me get through all the pain I was going through. I started getting sleep and focussing on the most important thing: my grades. I got them back up to straight A’s because I knew I had to maintain my grades, and as of right now I’m doing well in all my classes!

Naudia Dorsey
GUA Ambassador
Goshen High School

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