Corporate Contributions to Education 2007:
A Colin Powell Fellow Shares Insights
Therese Collins, originally from the West Indies, is a 22-year-old Colin Powell fellow.
Education Update (EU): What do you feel that the Colin Powell Fellowship program is doing for you; how is it helping you?
Therese Collins (TC): For me, its going to give me the support that I need, not only financial support, but academic and moral support to get to the next level in my career, get to the next step. The hands-on experience that I’m going to get because of the center’s financial gift to me and other students is going to be invaluable. This gift is going to allow me to use summer funding to intern somewhere, at another consulate here in the U.S., or a consulate abroad, or a law firm, get my hands dirty, get myself involved in policy. And I’m an undergraduate student; by the time I get to graduate school, I will have picked up resources and opportunities that many graduate students will not have had. So for a center to be able to make those opportunities available to undergraduate students, regardless of policy interest is amazing. There are ten of us here today and we’re interested in a wide range of interests. I’m an international studies major. Roy is a political science major. Mario is majoring in international studies, and Latin American studies as well.
EU: Do you do things together as a cohort, as a group?
TC: The group I’m in was chosen in November. We will soon have our first official meeting, but some us know each other from other areas, and we’ve done things together, we worked on projects together; some of our interests are completely different.
EU: Does your center help you to get some of these internships and the experiences you’ve spoken about?
TC: The center might not help us to get the internships, but they’ll work with us, for example on how to conduct an interview, and look through our resumes to make sure that it’s on point. They are going to be preparing us for the next step. They’re going to make sure that we go out, face the challenge, see what it’s like, force us to take that next step, to push ourselves to get things that we want to get, but knowing that we have their support, and somebody to turn to, to say, “Well, I have this interview, these are the questions, do you think I can handle it correctly?”
EU: Having come from the West Indies, can you tell us about your educational background?
TC:I have been here for two years; this is my first undergraduate experience. I went to a Catholic High School in the West Indies.
EU: Do you feel you got a good education there?
TC: I did. It was very strict and rigid, but I look back now and think the discipline that I got there has enabled me to focus and really make things happen for myself. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of my teachers and the staff there.
EU: Did you come to the States on your own?
TC: I did. My sister and grandfather live here. It’s been a journey, but the school has been very supportive.
EU: Who would you like to be ten years from now?
TC: I spoke to one of my friends the other day and we had a competition in the summer, where are you going to be ten years from now, and I don’t know, but I’m OK with not knowing. I’ve done so much here during my two years at City College. I’m in my third year now and I’ve accomplished so much. My first semester I went to Israel and Poland through a City College program, and I recently returned from a City College funded trip to the Dominican Republic. It’s been a great learning experience.#