Meet the Author: Tasha Gardner
I grew up in Albany, New York (upstate, but really mid-state). It’s a great area to grow up and raise a family but as a high school graduate I was ready to leave. I went on two college tours; one with my church, which took us to a few Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and the other was a random assortment of colleges that I picked through eeny-meeny-miny-moe. Drexel was the winner in more ways than one. When I stepped on campus, it just felt right versus another campus I visited the day before and felt anxious. I knew nothing about Drexel besides that it was in Philly. When they started talking about co-op and working for 18 months before graduation, I signed up immediately. I have not looked back since.
Growing up in a predominantly white middle-class area, coming to Drexel was not a huge stretch for me. As a first-generation college graduate, I had all kinds of anxiety. I had no idea what to expect but luckily, I had a great group of friends to help me along. As I progressed through my undergraduate degree, I realized I wanted to work with students like me, from the suburbs but not sure how to navigate because neither parent went to college, that mid-range that sometimes gets forgotten. I didn't understand that I could work at a university and instead chose a career in consulting for 3 years.
As a student, I was the treasurer and president of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (I am none of the above…well, maybe professional). I was lucky enough to sit on the planning committees for their regional and national conferences as an undergraduate and new alum. It was that that kept me connected to Drexel and the advisor for the student organization who helped get me back as a full-time employee at Drexel.
Now, almost 13 years later, I use my lessons learned in working with our current students. I want to make sure they take full advantage of opportunities. It never hurts to ask a question before counting yourself out of something because of your perception of it.