The college access and success field is now old enough that classes of students we’ve supported have graduated and are now creating the change we want to see in the world. As NCAN marks 25 years of progress in the effort to close equity gaps in higher education, our Alumni Spotlight series will feature the stories of outstanding alumni who have come through our member organizations over the years.
At a time such as this, we believe it’s still important to share the success stories of the students our members serve. We hope you enjoy the series and this week’s alumni.
As a Crosby Scholar, Linwaun Fulton’s passion for service was clear to everyone. He never missed a Saturday service activity, and was always recruiting other kids to get involved.
After Linwaun graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a bachelor's in English, he worked in the Carolina Advising Corps, where he met with seniors at three Warren County high schools to provide guidance through the college application process. Eventually, Linwaun returned to Crosby Scholars to work as a senior adviser, while also working part time at Wake Forest University as a financial aid counselor.
The common thread throughout Linwaun’s career? His commitment to access and opportunity for higher education. Read more about his story below.
Note: The responses below have been lightly copy edited for clarity.
Tell us a story of how a mentor or counselor helped you on your journey to earn your postsecondary degree/credential.
A mentor of mine, Mr. Tyson, helped me in staying composed and organized in my journey towards a postsecondary degree. From his encouraging words to his sincere reminders to be mindful of my support system at home while I was away at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he motivated me to stay focused on academics and to keep connections strong with my family.
As a student, what hurdles did you face while getting your postsecondary degree/credential?
During my journey towards my postsecondary degree, I encountered social distractions that impeded my time management. I found myself surrounded with a to-do list of studies to devote myself to as well as participating in different extracurricular activities. I had an intense sophomore year in which I struggled with my academic schedule and held a part-time job as well. Primarily, I did not manage my academic priorities well and learned a lesson in planning ahead and being intentional with time management.
Why was it important for you to get your postsecondary degree/credential?
I planned to obtain my postsecondary degree since ninth grade. I knew in my heart I wanted to obtain a degree and strove to do so, and my parents had obtained their postsecondary degrees as well. I also was aware that I wanted to keep this accomplishment consistent with my parents’ actions and to be a way for young people I know to see this as a motivating factor for them to obtain their postsecondary degree.
What inspires you to work in your field?
I am inspired by the students I serve and seeing that they receive equitable access to a fair education and advanced educational opportunities. I am motivated by the barriers I break down to ensure that students and their families become informed about the opportunities that education may provide for them. I find my work is significant because educators have the privilege to influence the lives of hundreds and hundreds of children who will become citizens in our global society. I am humbled by this opportunity to be an educator and treat it valuably.
In light of COVID-19, it’s important for students to hear words of encouragement from those who were in their shoes not long ago. What advice would you give to students right now?
Stay encouraged and do not give up your dreams. While this current normal is not what we expected, we need to remember that we are here in this time for a reason. All the lessons that your families instilled in you have brought you to this moment. Remember this moment and the progress that you make throughout its time.