As they prepare for the next stages of their lives, members of the Brooklyn College Class of 2016 share their fondest memories at the school that they have called home.  Check back each week in June to read their first-person accounts of what they learned both in and out of the classroom, and where they go from here.

Name: Shayne McGregor
Degree: M.A. in English
Hometown: Brooklyn, New York

Student Activities: The Black and Latino Male Initiative (BLMI)

Awards: Geraldine Williams Award for social activism and community development; City University of New York University Student Senate Graduate Peer Mentoring Scholarship; 2015 George A. Wade Scholarship Incentive Award for community uplift and writing about gentrification in Brooklyn, New York

Brooklyn College professors hold us to high standards, which is why I felt confident in pursuing a Ph.D. I’m also secure enough in myself to admit when I don’t know or understand something. I owe a lot of that to my education at the college.

I can also say that every day I’ve spent in the Black and Latino Male Initiative (BLMI) has been memorable. BLMI is seamless in the way it bridges intellectual discourse and professional development. It’s honest in its mentorship and unyielding in its belief that students are capable of exceptional things.

Members of the BLMI become better students almost by osmosis, as confidence is built through interfacing with other successful students, as well as with professors and administrators. Nicole St. Clair and her staff have created a safe space where students can interact in an informal way with faculty.

Rather than create successful students from scratch, BLMI’s belief is that we are already successful. We just need to come into our own power. In my case, BLMI uncovered a drive in me that I didn’t know was there. Realizing that drive and having it bolstered every time I step into that office is the best memory I have of Brooklyn College.

I will be attending the Ph.D. in English program at Yale University in the fall, and will pursue a career in academia after I’ve completed the program.