Gina Gipson, a graduate of both Morris Brown College and Southern University Law Center was often perplexed by the number of minority high school students she came in contact with who had opted to not pursue a college education. High school graduates would often justify their decision to her by admitting to poor planning, lack of guidance, insufficient funding and underdeveloped life skills. There were also high school graduates that made an attempt and entered college but fell short of the expectations for some of the same reasons.
With the increasing number of such scenarios repeatedly being presented to her, Ms. Gipson took action in 2007 and established Make Your Name Great, Inc. in Atlanta, GA, with a two fold purpose. One, to motivate high school minorities to pursue higher education and secondly, to provide assistance to minority high school students who were preparing themselves for higher education.
With a vision in her heart, pen and pad in hand and a few key supporters, Ms. Gipson launched the first MYNG Institute (After-school Program) in January 2008 in the West End Public Library Community Room. By mid year, students were also enrolled in the first MYNG Summer Academy which was held at the Westside Branch YMCA in June 2008. Two years later, her vision brought MYNG back to her hometown of Philadelphia, PA, where the second chapter was established. July 2010, MYNG welcomed high school students to Summer Academy Philadelphia. In 2015 Summer Academy expanded to Miami, FL, Alabama and Buffalo, NY.
As MYNG continues to grow our organization strives to raise leaders not just in the community, but throughout the world. “Make Your Name Great” is a term that we believe our students will come to recognize as a reality and not as a possibility.
*Biography Courtesy of makeyournamegreat.com*
Last week, Make Your Name Great Landed In Los Angeles, CA! The Only Believe Foundation partnered with Make Your Name Great for their Summer Academy, which is a one week summer college preparatory program for high school students in the 9th-12th grade. The Inglewood/LA participants enjoyed a week of workshops including “Networking Skills”, “College Readiness”, and “Leadership and Team building” to name a few. The students also payed it forward by volunteering in a community garden located in Hollywood,CA. Upon completion of the Summer Academy, Only Believe awarded scholarships to each participant to cover their college application and testing fees.
We were so honored with the opportunity to partner with Ms.Gina and her organization Make Your Name Great, that we just had to interview her. During our interview she shared advice on overcoming transitional obstacles on the journey to make our name great.
What were some of your obstacles you overcame during your transition from high school to college? What advice can you give to high school students entering college this fall as freshmen?
My biggest obstacle transitioning from high school to college was adjusting to dormitory living. Before entering college I never shared a room with someone, thus it was an adjustment learning to share a small space with a complete stranger. It taught me great patience, how to effectively communicate my thoughts and feelings and the importance of having conflict resolution skills.
The best advice I can offer to high school students entering college this fall as freshman is to exercise your networking skills and do not hesitate to ask others for help. My experience has demonstrated that building a strong network is vital to your college success. Whether your financial aid counselor, academic advisor, resident director or a student support services counselor, it is imperative to stay connected with the aforementioned individuals and others and to ask for assistance and guidance through the transition.
What were some obstacles you overcame while being in college? What advice can you give to current college students who may be experiencing something similar?
The biggest obstacle I overcame while attending college was improving my GPA after a tough semester. The reason I stress the importance of asking for assistance and guidance is because I failed to do such when having a tough semester and as a result ended the semester with a low GPA. It is tough to improve your GPA after having a tough semester. I am confident that if I had asked for assistance, utilized a tutor, etc., that I would have put myself in a better position for a stronger semester GPA. I am happy to share that I did raise my GPA but it was a hard road to travel. Ask for help!!!
What are some obstacles you faced after graduating and transitioning to adulthood? What advice can you give to young people who are faced with the not so fun task of “adulting”?
A few obstacles I faced after graduating and transitioning from college to the professional workplace were the lack of salary negotiation skills and poor budgeting skills. I would suggest that college students find a professional mentor(s) that can offer support, advice and guidance to them as they make their transition.
What else are you involved in/Passionate about?
I am also passionate about reading and writing and am currently working on my first book.
What can future participants expect from next year’s Make Your Name Greats’ Summer Academy?
Future Participants in Make Your Name Great Summer Academy can expect to be inspired, challenged and hopeful with regards to the their next steps in preparing for college. The sessions will be interactive, engaging, full or useful information and include role-playing and the creation of skits to make learning fun.
What words of encouragements can you leave our readers?
I would like to encourage your readers to always push the envelope, be open to change, never settle and always strive to Make Your Name Great!
For more information visit makeyournamegreat.com