02 Dec A Beacon of Inspiration: Working with the Dreamers
Here at the U, we celebrate diversity, and we are dedicated to student success. Put those two things together, and you’ll find the Beacon Scholars Program, whose mission is to serve as a community for first-generation students through holistic advising, mentorship, and leadership opportunities that promote retention, persistence, and graduation at the University of Utah. Beacon Scholars’ vision is to inspire and engage students to be rooted in our communities.
Meet Adriana Parker, Librarian in the Graduate & Undergraduate Services Department. Adriana works with Beacon Scholars students, teaching them the best methods for researching topics, writing papers, and citing sources. Adriana is embedded in the Beacon Scholars classes, so that she can really get to know students and build relationships.
“Beacon is an amazing community,” explains Adriana, “And I feel truly fortunate to get to work alongside these students. Growing up, I learned a lot about barriers to education, particularly higher education, from my folks. My mom, who is an immigrant from Mexico, was forced to drop out of school to help care for her family when she was just eleven-years-old. She and my dad, a former ESL teacher for the Job Corps, made education an important value for our family, but they were also well-aware that the path to higher education is riddled with systemic obstacles; the more privilege a person has, the fewer barriers they experience. My primary responsibility as a librarian here is to teach information literacy, and for me, that means ensuring that every student has equitable access to all of the resources, services, and knowledge they need to accomplish their goals. Our first-generation students motivate me to be a better librarian. They’re self-sufficient, resourceful, connected to the community, and deeply supportive of each other. I’ve learned so much from Beacon Scholars.”