ONCE AN EDOP SCHOLAR, ALWAYS AN EDOP SCHOLAR
We keep close tabs on our alumni post-graduation and help ease the transition from college to career through our mentoring program. Our alumni have gone on to success in virtually every industry, from finance, to communications and technology, to art and education. EdOp celebrates these achievements with our former scholars during our annual summer alumni event. We continue to be inspired by their stories and look forward to hearing of their accomplishments. year after year.
A REMARKABLE STORY
JOVAHANA ASPIRES TO BE A LEADER IN HER COMMUNITY
I'm Jovahana, a graduate of St. Edward’s University, who majored in Political Science and English Writing and Rhetoric. I was an honors student who has served as a resident assistant for St. Edward’s Honors Living and Learning Community and as president of the Latino Student Leaders Organization. I have also pursued my passion for public service through internships with the the offices of Texas State Representative Eddie Rodriguez and Austin Mayor Steve Adler and with Annie’s List, the League of Women Voters of Texas, and the Center for Public Policy Priorities. I was the honored recipient of an EdOp Cathy Doyle Travel Award, spending a summer in Washington, D.C., as an intern in the Environmental Protection Agency.
I was an intern with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute and recently accepted a position as Analyst in the Global Compliance Divisian at Goldman Sachs! I plan to attend law school in the future and hope to eventually to return to Oak Cliff to invest in the community where I grew up. I continue to pave the way for future leadership, advocate for underrepresented communities, and champion for equity and access. I'm eternally grateful for the opportunities and support that EdOp has provided and is determined to make a difference in the lives of others.
DESIGNING HIS DESTINY
MIN KOO ENGINEERS HIS WAY FROM SOUTH DALLAS TO SIEMENSI came to the U.S. in 2007, graduated from the DISD Science & Engineering magnet at Townview, and won EdOp’s Elizabeth Flotte Gonzalez Award recognizing an upperclassman who has demonstrated achievement in engineering, science, or technology. Thanks largely to EdOp's support I graduated in May 2018 from the University of Texas-Austin with a degree in Computer Engineering and a cumulative gpa of 3.56. I am working full-time in Chicago as a software tester for Siemens, a German engineering company. I appreciate EdOp for making my education possible. I cannot imagine the past four years without EdOp's financial and educational support. I also sincerely hope that one day I can contribute to EdOp and help students like me.
DANCING HER WAY TO THE TOP
KATRICIA MAKES AN IMPACT ON THE DALLAS ARTS SCENEEducational Opportunities lifted a heavy financial burden from my family’s shoulders. The consistency of the scholarship allowed me to focus on my education and not worry about money. I am thankful for having received my Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Dance with a minor in Business from the University of North Texas. Although I am the second person in my family to go to college, I was the first person to attend college without needing a loan. Monthly communications with my EdOp mentor, [the late] Ginny Sillers, provided me with encouragement and accountability. Mrs. Sillers often would tell me, “You’re doing such a good job!” and “You’re doing all the things that you envisioned for yourself.” At that time, the only requirement was to turn in my transcript and come to dinners twice a year. Those dinners were invaluable, because I connected with other students, talked abut their journeys, shared success stories, and laughed with other mentors like Bob Marshall. Even after I became a professional touring dancer with Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Mrs. Sillers and I stayed connected. Moreover, she continued her encouragement as I began my graduate program in Biblical Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary. I am truly thankful for the EdOp experience.
Giving Back a Way of Life
Orlando is Intent on Helping OthersOrlando Carreon believes in giving back. Nowadays EdOp is one of the beneficiaries of that value, which was instilled by his parents and has taken many forms. In December 2018 Orlando received his degree in Industrial Systems Engineering with a minor in Engineering Project Management from Texas A&M, where he served as a resident advisor and worked part-time as a soccer referee and referee supervisor in the university’s Intramural Sports Department. He also was a member of Phi Alpha Iota, a multicultural fraternity, and took part in that group’s outreach projects. As part of his studies, he was involved in various engineering projects, including serving as an undergraduate researcher, focusing on 3-D bio-printing of tissues. He also was part of the Perception Systems Design Team that developed a level-4 autonomous vehicle for the General Mentors AutoDrive Challenge.
Now an accident investigator with Axiom Reconstruction, Inc., Orlando continues to stay in touch with his EdOp mentor, Bob Luxen. “I had never had a mentor until I met Bob. It was new territory, a new learning curve. That experience helped me become more open to receiving and giving help. I will be forever grateful for what EdOp has given me. I had some other scholarships at A&M, but they were just checks that eventually went away. EdOp was about relationships and about supporting me the entire time. It has made a huge impact on my life. And it has inspired me to want to help EdOp in some way.”
As a first step, Orlando took part in EdOp’s July pre-orientation for freshmen, meeting the new students and their parents and sharing ideas about the best ways to manage one’s time, stay on top of coursework, and form new networks of friends. His job with Axiom Reconstruction involves working with clients to investigate the causes of accidents. He has begun the process for earning his professional engineering license and is researching master’s programs in mechanical engineering. Eventually, he says, he would like to earn his Ph.D. and teach, finding new engineering techniques to “make things cheaper, better, and faster.
SUPPORTING OUR SCHOLARS FROM START TO FINISH
EdOp’s “Pre-O” Puts College Success in Perspective
Pictured: EdOp scholars during their Orientation.
Each summer EdOp sponsors a pre-orientation program for our incoming freshmen at the Neuhoff Catholic Student Center at SMU. Members of the EdOp Board who serve as mentors, EdOp upperclassmen, and parents of freshmen gather to discuss the challenges and opportunities of college life. The program covers academics, social and dorm life, and finances. In many cases, the information the students gather in this setting helps them navigate their schools’ on-campus orientations.
Prior to the gathering, each freshman receives a set of “homework” questions covering topics that will be addressed at the meeting. The questions include:
Will I have an advisor to speak to when I am choosing classes?
What are my options for buying books at the best price?
What dates (academic calendar dates, drop/add dates, exam dates, etc.) should I put in my calendar now?
What kinds of study labs and academic tutoring are available on campus?
How do I learn about campus clubs and activities?
Where is the infirmary? What are the hours and costs to students?
What items will I need for my dorm room?
What’s the best way to plan for expenses other than tuition and books?
Who is my financial aid contact?
These and other homework questions are discussed in small groups and augmented by other
“pro tips” that provide insights about choosing the right level course, budgeting one’s time, staying on top of assignments, participating in class, choosing extracurriculars wisely, and taking care of one’s health (“Sleep, drink water, eat your vegetables, and don’t put your drink down at a party!”). This summer each freshman also received a copy of Will This Be on the Test?, a handbook for college-bound students from a teacher’s perspective written by Professors Dana T.Johnson and Jennifer E. Price.
Not least among the “take-home” rewards of the pre-o is the reminder that EdOp students, whatever their high school or their family situation, have earned their place in college. They were chosen for their talent and for the contributions they will make inside and outside of the classroom.