When asked what mark he wanted to leave on Vanderbilt when he graduates Julian replied, “I have no interest in leaving my mark on Vanderbilt.” Instead of looking to leave a mark, Julian set goals of building meaningful, reciprocal relationships with his peers and finding ways to merge his career and service interests. The Ingram Scholarship Program has played a key role in fostering the execution of these goals.
Nashville provided Julian with new opportunities and organizations to explore as a first year student. He engaged in service with Big Brothers Big Sisters and Maplewood Mentorship. Julian was matched with his Little Brother, who at the time was a 6th grader, during the fall of 2011. They spent their time together discussing their lives outside of school, working together to set goals, competing in sports, finding ways to overcome challenges, and doing school work. In Maplewood Mentorship Julian assisted 9th grade students in Math and Reading at Maplewood Comprehensive High School. During his first year Julian found himself grappling with the question of whether he could actually make a significant impact on the students he worked with by only meeting with them a few times a week. Around this time he also began working on putting together his Ingram Summer Project which would potentially give him the opportunity to engage with students on a regular basis. Although he did not do a summer project the summer following his first year, he met Vanderbilt professor Dr. Ford through the Ingram Scholarship Program. Dr. Ford provided him with grounded research on the populations he was interested in working with and would later advise him on future projects. That summer Julian interned as a Math teacher at Breakthrough Atlanta which affirmed his interest of having education as a part of his career.
His sophomore year, Julian began narrowing the scope of his service to minority students in underperforming schools. He added an additional major, Education Studies, to gain an intellectual base behind his service work. He continued working with his Little Brother in Big Brothers Big Sisters, but also began working with Bridging the Gap and Nations Ministries. Bridging the Gap provides college preparation services for students at Hillsboro High School. Nations Ministries seeks to serve students who are refugees or who have parents who are refugees. Julian served in the academic component of Nations Ministries. The summer following his sophomore year Julian completed his Ingram Summer Project with Breakthrough Atlanta by building the curriculum for and teaching a class on transitioning from Middle School to High School and serving as Dean of Students. Through Ingram he met professors Dr. Milner and Dr. McGee. They would assist him in his preparation for his summer project and become mentors for him.
During his junior year Julian would further narrow the scope of his service work to African American and Hispanic males in education. Spurred on from his summer project, Julian took on an independent study with Dr. McGee on the transition from Middle School to High School for African American and Hispanic males. He continued working with Bridging the Gap as well as Big Brothers Big Sisters. This was an important year in Big Brothers Big Sisters because it would be the final year Julian and his Little Brother would be matched together. Julian made it a point to share as much as he could from his summer project curriculum with his Little Brother to help prepare him for some of the challenges that may come up in high school. He also began working with Next Steps which allowed him to work closely with students who had intellectual difficulties. He served as a training partner for his two workout buddies in an effort to help them develop safe habits when exercising. Julian became good friends with his workout buddies over the course of the year and had some of his most enjoyable experiences of junior year with them. Toward the close of junior year he joined his friends in a collaborative effort to assist minority students get acclimated to life at Vanderbilt by connecting them with upperclassmen and professors. This initiative will officially begin in the fall of 2014. In addition to this, Julian looks forward to working with the YMCA Community Action Project during his senior year. Julian will be working with staff at the YMCA to end life sentences for juvenile offenders and on preventative measures for youth who are at high risk for delinquency. As Julian enters his final year at Vanderbilt, he looks forward to seeing the path his career will take as it has become apparent that law and the education of minority males are his main interests. The Ingram Scholarship Program will undoubtedly continue to play an instrumental role in helping Julian achieve his two goals of building relationships and merging career and service interests during his senior year just as it has the last three years.