Year 1 Stories

Year 1 Stories

Digital Story Excerpts (Year 1 Cohort, 2022)
We premiered seven original digital stories co-produced with participants from our program’s first cohort on June 29, 2022 at the Museum of Science, Boston. The following videos are excerpted from these seven digital stories. These videos were created for educational purposes and should be shared responsibly.

Iman Fritis Cherif

Iman, a tenacious first-generation immigrant from Algeria, shines as the pioneering engineer within her family. She’s currently on her academic journey at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, specializing in Biomedical Engineering. Her ambitions reach beyond conventional career paths, aiming to fuse engineering principles with healthcare, especially in the fight against cancer. Her relentless determination extends even further as she aspires to become a pediatric neurosurgeon. Her video presentation is a testament to unwavering dedication, spotlighting her academic accomplishments while honoring the steadfast support of her family, who have been her steadfast companions throughout her educational odyssey. (Written in June 2022; Updated in October 2023)


Maria Cristina Del Valle

Maria Cristina’s parents immigrated to the United States from Guatemala and Brazil, respectively. Maria Cristina studied Environmental Science & Policy and Anthropology at Smith College and now works as a software engineer. Maria Cristina’s digital story focuses on her learning experiences that have been shaped by her dyslexia. Maria Cristina’s experiences in trying to learn are not unique to her; many struggle with learning in traditional classroom settings and face barriers in accessing the resources and the tools that better fit their learning styles. (Written in June 2022; Updated in October 2023)


Jessica Gurung

Jessica is a second-generation Nepali–American, who is currently a freshmen in college. Her digital story presents the core values she has in her “Doko,” a Nepalese traditional woven basket. Her story revolves around the hardships she faces in trying to stay connected with her cultural heritage and keeping it alive in America while balancing other rocks in her Doko. (Written in June 2022; Updated in October 2023)


Jaely Pereira

Jaely Pereira is a graduate of UMass Boston with a degree in Biology on a Pre-Medical track and a Program-of-Study in Asian American Studies. As a first-generation student, she hopes to become the first doctor in her family, something that her immigrant grandfather wished to do but did not have the resources for. Jaely’s digital story highlights the challenges that she experienced as a woman of color in the STEM field. She hopes her story will inspire teachers and scientists to guide young girls to see their strengths and abilities and to help them achieve their dreams. (Written in June 2022; Updated in October 2023)


Asa Peters

Asa Peters is a music-maker and learner with roots in the Mashpee Wampanoag and Narragansett tribes. He works with the Asian American Studies Program as a Program Coordinator, and as a research assistant with the Institute for New England Native American Studies at UMass Boston. In his digital story, Asa reflects on his journey as a botany student and the ways his relationships to plants have changed over time. Through this process, he finds that enjoying close bonds to plants as an Indigenous person can help him make sense of the unexpected shifts in his personal, academic, and career paths. (Written in June 2022; Updated in October 2023)


Michael Rodriguez

Michael is a non-traditional student at Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) with a major in Environmental Science. After twenty-five years of driving tractor-trailers around the country and seeing its waste, he returned to school to acquire the skills to identify and solve the serious pollution problems that go unnoticed. Michael’s digital story highlights the obstacles encountered throughout his educational journey. He hopes that his story motivates at least one person to return to school, or stay in school, in spite of the challenges they might face along the way. (Written in June 2022)


Luis Santana

Luis was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts and moved to Boston when he was 12. He is a senior in high school attending Boston Latin School. In the fall, he’ll be attending Connecticut College and majoring in Behavioral Neuroscience. Luis’ digital story is about the people in his life who helped him in his educational journey. He hopes his digital story will shed light on the importance of STEM and his first language, Spanish, and how they’re both of equal importance. He also hopes that his digital story will inspire others to appreciate those around them. (Written in June 2022)

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