CSU Voices and Views

Stories from the Road: Compton (Dominguez Hills)

Interview with Lindsay Smiley,
CSU Dominguez Hills student ambassador

Lindsay Smiley gets a show of hands from Benjamin O. Davis Jr. Middle School students who are getting prepared for college.

Lindsay Smiley gets a show of hands from Benjamin O. Davis Jr. Middle School students who are getting prepared for college.

The following interview was recorded on May 13, 2010.

Transcript: <Music>

Erik Fallis:

Welcome back to “Stories from the Road,” a feature of the CSU Voices and Views blog–reporting from several locations along the CSU/AT&T Road to College route.

<Bus sound>

This is Erik Fallis of CSU Public Affairs. We are joined by Lindsay Smiley who is a Cal State Dominguez Hills student studying communications.

Lindsay is mentoring students at Benjamin O. Davis Jr. Middle School for the Road to College tour.

Lindsay, what is going on at the school today?

Lindsay Smiley:

We are showing students the road to college, letting them know what classes they need to take. Pretty much encouraging them to go forth into higher education.

Erik Fallis:

What is the most positive reaction you’ve gotten today?

Lindsay Smiley:

The most positive reaction I’ve gotten would have to be the enthusiasm from students. So, when I ask them “Do you want to go to college?” and we get that enthusiasm. Or from those that don’t answer, and they kind of hold their head down, when I go to the side and talk to them. And when we get through talking they hold their head up a little higher. It may not be all the way up, but just a little higher than what it was before we started to speak.

Erik Fallis:

And what from your experience have you been able to tell these students, to give them a little bit of an example to follow?

Lindsay Smiley:

Just to tell them that there are going to be challenges. There is nothing worse than to hear that “going to college is going to be fun” or “it’s going to be great” and then you get there and it’s not that easy. I’ve been up since 5 am yesterday. And I’m letting them know–those challenges are coming your way. But if you can make it through one step at a time, you can do the same thing to get through college and to get your diploma.

Erik Fallis:

And why is it important for you to be part of this?

Lindsay Smiley:

These are the students that are going to have to run California, and run the country and run the world. And if they’re not encouraged then who are our leaders going to be?

Erik Fallis:

What inspired you to go to college?

Lindsay Smiley:

I’ve always done well in school. It wasn’t until high school that it got a little challenging for me. But, what really, honestly keeps me going (because there are days I wake up thinking I don’t want to do this, why do I need a degree again). But, my dad, he told me that the proudest day of his life will be the day that I graduate.

Erik Fallis:

And do you feel like you are helping move these students along to have that same experience you have?

Lindsay Smiley:

I do, I do. I understand where they are coming from. Because, you know where they are located is not the most advantaged area. They don’t have all these doors opened for them usually. And I can kind of connect with that from when I was in middle school, and when I was in elementary school and high school, and things like that. It was only the honors and the magnet students that really got the opportunities. And, so when I see them here and I tell them: “This tour is here to pry doors open for you and it’s up to you to bust the door down. You have to come through and take all the knowledge they are giving.”

And I do feel a connection with these kids.

Erik Fallis:

We’re on the verge of wrapping up this tour, so if you were to going to summarize what all this was about for us–what the last five weeks and thousands of students we seen was all about–how would you summarize that?

Lindsay Smiley:

I would summarize this event as a vehicle for change and for opportunity. This is an opportunity for these students to really prepare for the rest of their lives. And, to see things that they may not have seen otherwise. This is the opportunity they’ve been waiting on and the inspiration that they’ve needed.

Erik Fallis:

Well thank you so much for being here and helping these students get the knowledge that they need to get to college. And for sharing your experiences with them.

Lindsay Smiley:

You’re so welcome. It’s my job to teach those that come after me what’s come before them.

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Erik Fallis:

This was the last “Story from the Road” for the CSU Voices and Views blog, for 2010. To the thousands of students that have had the chance to experience Road to College, for the last time I want to say “Get on Board” and we’ll see you at a CSU.

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3 Comments to “Stories from the Road: Compton (Dominguez Hills)”

  1. Jane Lapham, Alumnus from Fullerton, Says:

    I am very proud to hear of CSUDH folks working to increase young people’s interest in college! I am a mentor with Operation Jump Start, a community organization in Long Beach that provides young people with a mentor through their entire high school career in order to assist them in choosing, preparing for, and getting into the college of their choice.

    I bet the folks who run Operation Jump Start would love to hear about Ms. Smiley’s efforts. Perhaps a partnership opportunity exists? http://www.operationjumpstart.org

    Anyone who’s interested in hearing more about Operation Jump Start can email me at janelapham@gmail.com

    GO CSUDH!

  2. Jimmie Thompson, Alumnus from Dominguez Hills, Says:

    Thank you so much Lindsay.

    Just from hearing your interview, I know you are an inspiration to our young people. I loved the way you sought out those students that may not be enthusiastic at first. Your extra attention to them will greatly increase their hopes that college is in their future.

  3. Lindsay Smiley, Student from Dominguez Hills, Says:

    This is so exciting! I am glad to read these positive reviews. I just pray that I can continue to be in a position that allows me to encourage future scholars. I love what I do!

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