Along with excelling in her microbiology studies at UMass Amherst, Stacy has made great strides in helping underrepresented high school students realize their college dream.
I remember the first time I did visit UMass, I just remember seeing farms everywhere. And I was wondering, where am I going? But then once you get on the actual campus, you realize it's a city in its own. And it's huge. There are people everywhere, different types of people everywhere. So I was like, I have to be at UMass. And coming here was just- it was a big step, but it was a great step. My major is microbiology. I had always been very interested in science. I was always just fascinated by how things worked within the body, why they happened, why people got sick. I also have two minors, one in African-American studies and then the other one in anthropology. One of my favorite professors from my micro department is Wilmore Webley. For lab, it was absolutely outstanding to see someone conduct a lab with so many really nervous students, but to be able to teach us on a level that I never really had experienced before. It was extremely difficult. Do not get me wrong, that was one of the hardest labs I'd ever taken. But I can honestly say the skills that I gained from that lab, from being pushed to keep going, that's one of the best skills I ever got. So I got involved with Student Bridges, which is a student-run agency focused on college access and success for underrepresented students. I was able to go tutor and mentor in Holyoke, a packed full service community school with fifth, sixth, and seventh graders. And I was able to just build communication and build relationships with these students to have them understand their self-empowerment to understand that they can go to college and that they can make a change. I think what I'm most proud of about UMass is every single person I was able to talk to here, the fact that they ended up here and I end up here with them, and we were able to make a change somewhere, somehow on our campus, the fact that we're able to bring all these different people from everywhere together to make sure that we all learn within ourselves besides the classroom. My name is Stacy Tchouanguem, Class of 2016. I stand for inclusion and diversity in higher education. And I stand for UMass.