My Experience as a Diversity Fellow

I decided to become a Diversity Fellow because I wanted to help people, and I thought it would be a good opportunity to improve myself as a better student or colleague.   This is my last semester as a Diversity Fellow, and I can confidently say that I enjoyed every little ounce of it. In September 2021, we were all returning to in-person school. The transition from remote to in-person petrified me. I was filled with anxiety, given that I am a transfer student who was unfamiliar with UMass Amherst, and I was going without any friends. My other Diversity Fellows and the director of The Academic Fellowship Program, Dr. Felicia Griffin-Fennell, provided me with a productive and safe environment–where I got to make friends, build a connection, and build myself. I no longer felt anxious because I realized I wasn’t alone since I had the assistance from my fellow peers and our director. I learned a lot of new skills such as effective communicating, public speaking, working in a team, and time management. I learned to get out of my comfort zone to expand on the skills that were necessary to succeed in professional development. And most importantly, I learned that these guys are my family.

By Phaneth Son
Phaneth Son