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Diversity Programs Office Keeps Students on Track

The Engineering Diversity Programs Endowed Discretionary Fund helps support students of different cultures, intellectual positions, and lifestyles reach their full potential.

Diversity Programs Office Keeps Students on Track

The Engineering Diversity Programs Endowed Discretionary Fund helps support students of different cultures, intellectual positions, and lifestyles reach their full potential.

In the summer of 2018, Shokhari Tate, ’20, went abroad with the Contemporary Culture, Politics and Society in Greece program. He spent time traveling the country, learning about the people and the significant geography including the Aegean Sea. But the two weeks he spent working at a refugee camp had the biggest impact on him. 

Refugees from Turkey, Africa, Syria and other places in Europe had come to the camp, and Tate worked with unaccompanied minors—teaching them English and playing sports with them. The conditions the refugees had lived through were eye-opening. 

He decided after the trip that a career in public health was calling. 

Now a senior at Michigan State University, he’s setting himself up to follow that dream. And while he knows he has worked hard to get to where he is today, he believes that without the help of the scholarships he was awarded during his time on campus, and the donors who helped make those scholarships possible, things would be much different.

 

“I know for sure that I wouldn’t be able to say, ‘I’m a senior at Michigan State with a nice, high GPA and about to graduate,’ if it wasn’t for the scholarships I received in my time here,” Tate said.

 

Tate was one of the many beneficiaries of the College of Engineering Diversity Programs Office (DPO), which, among other things, provides scholarships and aid to underrepresented minority students in a variety of programs. (The DPO was the College of Engineering’s focus on Give Green Day in 2018.) He is also a recipient of the Walter C. and Patricia J. Mack Endowed Scholarship from the College of Education. This year on Give Green Day, the College of Education is fundraising for the Kinesiology Scholars Fund.

For Tate, who is a kinesiology major in the College of Education, the aid received has been instrumental in his success. “I know what it is like to look at your student account, see a balance on there and not know where that money is coming from,” he said. Tate was saved by the scholarships from the DPO and College of Education. “When that bill gets paid, it's just the best feeling of relief.”

Tate is already giving back, too. He first became involved with the DPO through the Engineering and Science Success Academy (ESSA), a summer bridge program that invites students on campus before classes to allow incoming freshmen to acclimate to collegiate life. Tate attended ESSA before his freshman year and has worked with the program in summers since to help incoming students. He also holds jobs at the College of Nursing in the Dean’s Office and as a peer adviser in the College of Ed, where he often tutors. 

Through it all, he is thinking about the future, too. A future where he becomes involved in public health. Tate has plans to go to grad school, stick his nose into research and, eventually, open a health clinic. “It’s still a loose plan,” he said, “but I’ve got big goals.”

Those goals are possible because of MSU and what Tate has seen and learned. He is thankful for his time here and knows how important the help of the MSU community has been.

“For alumni and other people in the MSU family to be able to come back and donate, and be able to give it to us, the people who need it to graduate?” Tate said. “When I get older and get more established, I want to do the same thing.”

For more, go to the College of Engineering Diversity Office Program.

Author: Liam Boylan-Pett