This week in our Life of a Fellow series, we are so happy to introduce Ingrid Molinares, one of our new Kensington Health Sciences Academy Fellows. She has a BA in Communications: West Chester University and will graduate this December with a Masters in Administration of Human Services from Chestnut Hill College. This week we hear her reflections on her own career path. 

I used to be haunted by one seemingly simple question: What do you do for a living?

 With no exaggeration, these seven little words caused me great anxiety. I never looked forward to meeting new people solely to avoid answering this often problematic question. To clarify, I was not embarrassed or ashamed by my answer—  “I work in early childhood education”. I was, however, bothered by the fact that I never felt like I was doing what I was supposed to be doing.

Last year I left my office job and comfort zone. I decided to take a leap and wholeheartedly follow my professional pursuits, which, if I am being honest, for a long time I was scared to embrace. I have always known that my heart lies in education equity. As a first generation college student, I understand the power of an education. I know it is one of the few things in life that cannot be taken away from an individual. But what if a student was never given the chance at an education in the first place? It is important for everyone to have the opportunity to achieve an education. 

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I have been unbelievably fortunate to be allowed the opportunity to work as a Fellow for 12 PLUS giving students access to post-secondary education. This position puts me right in the middle of a field I always wanted to be a part of and it has given me direct access to students. Recently in a conversation with a former Fellow I was reminded to take in every moment of this year because regardless of where my path leads me, I will never have an experience quite like this again. Admittedly I will say this conversation saddened me but it also helped put things into perspective. Every time one of my students asks me to help them with a college application or for assistance with a school project, I get to play a small part of a much larger picture. I have been trusted to help guide them, given a special invitation into their lives, to listen to their life stories. I am humbled to be apart of this entire process.

The question that once was the vain of my existence, the simple yet complex question about what I do for a living, does not haunt me anymore. I have the most phenomenal students to attribute that to. They have given me confidence. My hope is that I have been able to help them as much as they have helped me. I am exactly where I need to be.

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