Queensborough student Chiedu Uzoigwe dressed in over-sized hip-hop gear and sported a do-rag and sideways cap. He looked down at the floor when he spoke, avoiding eye contact. He came to Queensborough’s Writing Center preparatory writing workshop, having failed many writing exams in the past. It was clear that Chiedu lacked confidence not only in his writing ability, but also in his personal life.
A Writing Center Specialist took a personal interest in Chiedu and used a little humor and a lot of heart to motivate him. Over the course of one semester, she got him to look her in the eye when he spoke and he started to gain self respect. By the end of the semester, he came in with a new haircut, dressed in well-fitting sport clothes and had a proud, bright smile.
The following semester, Chiedu enrolled in the MALES Program and obtained an internship with NYPIRG. Chiedu quickly found his passion: to get legislation passed that would allow a city bus line stop on campus. At semester’s end, Chiedu, dressed in a business suit, described with pride how he’d stood on the steps of City Hall next to local politicians speaking on behalf of QCC students to get the transportation legislation passed.
Chiedu passed the writing exam required for graduation, graduated from Queensborough, and transferred to Queens College to get a business degree. The MALES program was instrumental in helping him formulate his life’s goal to be a community activist.