During this past summer Julian’s students underscored for him that service is “a lifestyle that can bring about solutions to our problems.” Through varying service endeavors Julian has sought solutions to the problem of educational inequality for underserved students. Like many first year students in college, he signed up for several organizations and winnowed them down to the ones he was truly passionate about. The first of these organizations was Big Brothers Big Sisters. Each Friday Julian met with his Little Brother and spent time reading, working on classwork, and playing games. Julian also met with his Little Brother’s teachers to check his progress. The second of these organizations was Maplewood Mentorship which is a tutoring and mentorship program for students at Maplewood High School. Maplewood Mentorship focuses primarily on Algebra 1 and English.
During the summer after his first year at Vanderbilt Julian interned with Breakthrough Atlanta. The goals of Breakthrough Atlanta are (1) to train the next generation of school teachers and administrators and (2) to provide students from underserved backgrounds with the resources they will need to excel in high school and to get into the most competitive colleges. There are 33 sites worldwide, including one in Hong Kong. Julian taught math to rising ninth graders and thoroughly enjoyed his experience. He still communicates with former students and co-workers to this day.
Having thoroughly enjoyed his experience with Big Brothers Big Sisters and having learned of new service activities, Julian was eager to begin his sophomore year. He started his sophomore year still meeting with his Little Brother. Unfortunately, his Little Brother was pulled out of the school district halfway through the semester and the closest thing to closure Julian had was a letter he sent to his Little Brother. Julian joined Nations Ministry which is an after school tutoring program for youth who are refugees or children of refugees. During this time he was able to form bonds with new students as he helped them with homework and talked about life in general. Julian found little difference between these students and students he had worked with in the past who were born American or born of parents who were American. Through another Ingram Scholar, Julian learned of a fellowship called the Rising Leaders Fellowship through which students with interests in education are paired with Teach for America alumni who guide them through a service project that will expand educational opportunities in the community or on campus. Julian and some of his peers organized Bridging the Gap which is a college prep program for high school students at Hillsboro High school. Bridging the Gap offers ACT prep as well as workshops on résumé building, identifying types of colleges, finding colleges that are compatible with certain personality types, and tutoring where needed.
The summer after Julian’s sophomore year he returned to Breakthrough Atlanta to do his summer service project and serve as the Dean of Students for the Ninth Grade Leadership Academy. For his project he created a curriculum for the Transitioning from Middle School to High School class. He collaborated with three Vanderbilt professors to come up with what would be taught. Julian taught about models for male and female scholar identities, Netiquette, dealing with stress, college preparation, nutrition, service, activism, and maximizing the use of online resources and teacher office hours. As a culminating project and tool for Breakthrough’s Ninth Grade Leadership Academy, he had his students work in groups to create chapters in which they wrote what they gleaned from a particular topic taught over the summer. These chapters were then compiled into a book and given to each student as well as the Breakthrough staff. Julian learned a tremendous amount from this experience and is thankful for this opportunity that was made possible by the generosity of the Ingram family