Get to know Gloria, one of Access Opportunity's Student Ambassadors for the 2023-24 school year.
Gloria is entering her first year at the Colorado State University studying Biomedical Sciences with a contraction of Anatomy and Physiology. She's approaching halfway through her time in Access Opportunity as a member of the Class of 2027. Throughout the year, we will get to know her better through her stories, experiences, and advice for her fellow AO students.
In Her Own Words
Hi, my name Is Gloria Ansah and I will be an incoming freshman at Colorado State University majoring in Biomedical Sciences with a contraction of Anatomy and Physiology.
I was born and raised in Aurora, Colorado, and have been here my whole life. I am an African American woman with parents from Ghana which is located in West Africa. I have always had a love for music ever since I was young. Anything music always brings me joy. From joining my first choir club in 3rd grade to performing a solo at my last high school concert, music has always been a big part of my life. During my free time, I like to learn new songs on my piano and hang out with my family and friends.
Growing up, I knew I wanted to have a career in the medical field especially when it came to working with kids. Helping my community stay healthy is a dream I want to accomplish. After my undergraduate education, I want to apply for nursing school in hopes of one day being a nurse practitioner for kids. I also want to get involved with helping the Black girl community know their worth and know their potential, something I wish I had growing up as a darker-skinned woman. Helping my people and giving back to my community is an everlasting goal I always want to achieve in any way possible.
AO: Are there any ways in your life or educational journey that you feel like a trailblazer?
Gloria: Before my senior year, I had a battle within my mind telling me I wouldn't be able to make it through the college process or even make it to college since I didn't have many role models in my family to go to when it came to asking for help. Having to go through every step of the college process without my family's support was hard. Especially having immigrant parents who had no idea what the college process was and how to go through it. Growing up, I've always had to help my parents out when It came to filling out a form or using technology. So when it came to filling out documents for the college process, I already knew I would have to complete it myself which was scary and upsetting. I always felt a sense of embarrassment when I would have to go to the counseling office every day to ask the simplest questions in their eyes which would be the hardest question in mine. Not knowing what information to put for certain parts of any application concerning my parents cause me to be discouraged and feel like I didn't deserve to go to college. Even though I was clueless for a lot of the college process having resources like AO and connecting to people who understood my situation made me believe someone like me could go to college. My parents didn't have the opportunity to go to college but they have a daughter who made it because of them and the support systems she had.
AO: What does it mean to you to be a first-generation student? What advice would you give to other first-gen students?
Gloria: To me being a first-generation student means having one or both parents that didn't attend college. For me, it was both of my parents. Being first-gen is a title I am proud to have because it can show other first-generation students that anything is possible no matter what your family background is. I did have a different high school experience as a first-gen student vs. someone who had parents who went to college, but it only made the experience more special and didn't make me any less of a person. Many resources like scholarships and programs were made specifically made for first-generation which can be very helpful.
Being able to relate my experiences with other first-generation students made me understand how lucky I am to have this title and how I should be proud of it. I did have times when I didn't want to be a first-generation student because I thought it made life more difficult especially when it came to school but then I realized accomplishing everything I did while being a first-gen student was a big achievement.
One piece of advice I'll give to first-gen students in high school is to always look for resources specific to first-gen students. The education system knows we need more support when it comes to life after high school so make sure to take advantage of all the opportunities they offer. Lastly, don't ever be ashamed to ask for help even though it may seem like a silly question.
AO: Thinking back to your time so far in Access Opportunity, do you have a favorite moment (or moments) that stand out?
Gloria: I've had so many great memories at many AO workshops but I would have to say my favorite moment was the 2022 Summer Workshop. I was given the chance to make so many new friends from so many different cohorts as well as my own. So many people from the older class took their time to give me and my cohort advice for our senior year and also shared their stories about their senior year which gave us insight on what to expect. They connected us to many of the resources they used.
I also think back to the skits everyone had to do during the workshop. Me and my group did a skit about the stars being born and this was truly a time to remember. We had to work as a team to tell the story about stars being born. I worked and connected with so many different classes and was able to get out of my comfort zone when we had to perform a front of everyone. I choose this specific activity because It was a joy to make my AO family laugh and have a good time. Sometimes I go back to watch the video just to hear the laughter and see everyone happy.
AO: How did you first feel when you first got accepted into your college?
Gloria: When I got accepted to Colorado State, I had so many emotions going through at once. I was so proud of myself for being able to get into college as an African American first generation student but I still couldn't believe this could be possible for me. I always had a fear of not getting into any college. I felt like I didn't deserve to be accepted and go to this school. It's like I forgot about all the hard work I put in all four years of high school. I talked to a close friend about this and she was able to relate to how I was feeling. The feeling that you don't belong.
I had to go back to look at all the many wonderful accomplishments I achieve throughout my years in high school. Getting into AO and being able to hold leadership positions was something the colleges saw. Knowing that my parents didn't go to college made getting accepted to CSU even more special. It was a moment I could share with them because they are the reason I had the chance to have an education in America to be able to have the resources to pursue anything I want to.
Stay tuned to hear more from Gloria throughout the year!