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Jennifer Niola's Keynote Speech | June 2018

My name is Jennifer Niola, I am a 2017 Campus Bound Scholar and I am a proud Ecuadorian, first generation college student. For my family and I college was a new term so having the opportunity to attend Barnard College felt so empowering because it allowed me to be a step closer to actualizing my life goal of entering the field of medicine to positively impact individuals lives. Throughout my life I have faced many discriminatory and discouraging actions but these experiences have not only allowed me to grow as an individual but have also encouraged me to continue persevering for my goals and likewise help others like myself overcome similar challenges. However, overcoming such obstacles couldn’t have been possible without the support of my loving family, my mentors such as Ms. Beth and Campus Bound Scholars.

With the guidance of Ms. Beth, my designated Campus Bound Scholar mentor, I was able to have a successful first year at Barnard. She advised of the many ways to approach my professors when I began to encounter difficulties with the course material; she even shared her own college experiences and how she was able to relate to my situation. She also provided me with feedback on my class schedule, motivated me to put forth my best effort because she truly believed in me, and always congratulated me on my accomplishments.

In addition to my mentor, Campus Bound Scholars as a program  itself has supported me by financially facilitating my participation in my current internship as a researcher in the Summer Research Institute at Barnard College. My participation in this program will allow me to get hands on experience within a college research setting and develop new skills as a scientist, a experience made possible by CBS. As a Campus Bound Scholar I also had the opportunity to meet one of my college sister’s from the Seven Sisters School Organization and develop a networking relationship with her.

As a college student responsibility is a key factor as you become more independent by becoming in charge of evaluating the courses you enroll in during each semester, learn to approach professors through email or office hours and learn how to manage your time wisely. There were definitely some stressful times I faced this past year but there were also times of joy and excitement. Joy and excitement came from joining a variety of clubs that peaked my interest such as the Student Organization of Latinx, participating in and hosting different school events where I was able to meet other first generation students like myself, share our experiences and make new friends. This year at Barnard I advanced in my academics but I also got to learn about new cultures, share my own cultural heritage and surrounded myself by individuals who want to succeed and overcome the challenges we are bound to face.

To the new scholars I congratulate you all and wish you all the best as your begin this new chapter in your life. I would like to once again thank my family, Ms. Beth and Campus Bound Scholars for their continuous support, my success thus far couldn’t have been possible without you all. Thank you.


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