Poverty Lab Has One Million Degrees Found the Secret to Community College Success?
WBEZ 91.5 Chicago / May 2, 2019
By Kate McGee
Naudiah Calbert missed the first day of class during her second semester of college last January.
She had a good excuse: She was giving birth to her daughter.
But balancing a newborn and her studies was a struggle.
"I was about a week behind and I just stayed behind and never got back on track," Calbert said.
That's when her advisor at Wright College, one of the seven City Colleges of Chicago, suggested she apply to a program run by the nonprofit, One Million Degrees. It provides extra supports to students, such as tutoring, professional networking help and stipends. The organization also helped Calbert plan out how she would reach her goals of graduating with an associate's degree in chemistry and working as a forensic scientist in a police department.
Calbert was assigned a coach who checked in with her regularly, and the stipends helped as she took care of her child. She also attended events with professionals who provided feedback on her networking skills and made connections with future employers. Calbert has supportive parents, but she said it was helpful to have someone outside her family looking out for her. Sometimes, she said, it's harder to ask those closest to you for help.