This month’s featured First Gen is Delegate Alonzo T. Washington, who shares the benefits of strategic, organized college financial planning. Alonzo celebrates his birthday this month, and luckily, his responses also build on our recent posts about organization.
1. What is your name?
Alonzo T. Washington
2. What is your current occupation?
Maryland State Delegate
3. What makes you a First Gen?
When I graduated from the University of Maryland, I became the first person in my entire family to receive a college degree. I was then appointed to the Maryland General Assembly in 2012, becoming the youngest member of the Maryland House of Delegates.
4. What was your proudest moment as a First Gen, and why?
Of course, graduating from the University of Maryland debt-free and becoming the first in my family to graduate from college was an extremely proud moment for me. In 2014, I was also proud to win my first election to the Maryland House of Delegates, gaining the most votes in the history of my Legislative District.
5. What advice would you give to a first-generation student, graduate, or professional?
I have often found that many first-generation students—through no fault of their own—are not taking advantage of the resources and opportunities available to them, including scholarships, grants, and other forms of financial aid. We need to ensure that all first- generation students are fully utilizing all of these resources to graduate from college debt-free. I would also encourage first-generation students, graduates, and professionals to always be organized and prepared in all aspects of their life. Many of my successes, especially in my professional life, can be attributed to strong organization and preparedness skills.
6. What is your favorite quote? And why?
As we continue to fight back against racial and social inequities, I am constantly reminded of a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as he fought against similar injustices:
"The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice."
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