UT Dallas - The LINK
April 2012

Diversity Office was a Resource for Student


Jeffrey Okonye, soon to be in medical school at UT Southwestern, remembers the days before he started his undergraduate degree in neuroscience at UT Dallas: "I knew I wanted to be a physician," he said, "And when I told people that, a lot of them asked me what my Plan B was. I told them that I didn't have a Plan B, because I was completely focused on my Plan A working out. But it was enough to get me wondering whether I could really go to college and make it happen, especially as it got closer. I was lucky to find people who helped me believe it could happen, because that's the only way it can happen."

Okonye said he drives home a key message with the teens he mentors through the Office of Diversity and Community Engagement: "Believe it."

"The Office of Diversity does a great job in letting kids know that there are people who look like them, who have backgrounds like them, making their dreams real," said Okonye. "I was happy to be able to mentor these kids, to give them hope and motivation—maybe impact their lives. UT Dallas' diversity programs let them know that anything is possible and not to give up before they start. Those programs are really worth supporting."

Okonye, who serves as president of his fraternity and president of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, himself found community and support through the Office of Diversity.

"UT Dallas is a great University," he says, "but when the student body is about 6 percent black, it's hard not to feel alone when you first come to campus. The Office of Diversity helped me meet people, find resources and get established in the community."

For information on Diversity and Community Engagement, please call 972-883-4566 or email community@utdallas.edu.

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