The Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity Recruitment & Outreach team held its annual Young Gifted & Black (YGB) Conference on Sat., May 18.
Over 175 African American high school students and their parents came to the UW campus from the greater Puget Sound area and Yakima for this event aimed to promote positive self-esteem, cultural awareness and the importance of higher education.
After being welcomed by Stephanie Miller, OMA&D assistant vice president for outreach and pre-college programs, YGB attendees participated in a variety of workshops and lectures. In addition, UW student organizations were present to share information about their respective groups. Those present were Sisterhood, Black Fraternities & Sororities, Association of Black Business Students, National Society of Black Engineers, African Student Association and the Black Student Union.
YGB students also attended panel discussions with young professional black men and women. It was a chance for them to interact with and ask questions of the professionals. Topics in the men’s panel ranged from football workouts for aspiring athletes to personal stories of paths to college. The women’s panel discussed study abroad opportunities as well as the trials and tribulations of being a “double-minority: black and a female.”
“It was a powerful event and I believe some lives and futures were changed from it,” said panelist DiAndre Campbell.
The Young Gifted & Black Conference allowed parents to learn more information about the UW and college options, as well. There was a coinciding parent session that exposed them to the UW admissions process and resources, and concluded with a tour of campus.
“The parent session was a good way for them to ask any questions they may have and gain an insight into the application process,” said Outreach & Admissions counselor EJ Silvers.
One of the sessions that had a deep impact on the students was the identity workshop facilitated by Early Outreach coordinator Rudy Mondragón. This session encouraged students to break down the identities that have been placed upon them and construct their own.
The YGB conference concluded with a keynote address from UW alumnus Sylvester Cann IV, who works with the Roadmap Project Initiative for the Community Center for Education Results.
YGB students were able to leave the conference with new friends and a strong desire for higher education.
“Students arrive on the UW campus unsure of what the day will hold, and leave motivated and inspired to pursue a higher education and reach for their dreams,” Outreach & Admissions counselor Merissa Tatum said. “Knowing that I was able to positively impact the life of just one student makes all the difference.”
For more information on YGB or other UW programs and opportunities hosted by the Recruitment & Outreach team, please contact Tatum at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit depts.washington.edu/reach.
By Evan Silvers, UW Senior