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I value all of the opportunities I've had to connect with different faculty and staff members here. I think if I went to another school, I would have had a very different experience.
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- Biomedical Engineering
As a first-generation college applicant, Autumn Hughes said, there was no one in her immediate network to help her navigate the transition from high school to college. She felt overwhelmed with questions she didn't know the answers to—and questions she didn't even know she should be asking.
She received a helping hand through Johns Hopkins University's Hop-In program.
"I didn't really know anything about college other than it's the next step beyond high school," Hughes said. "There were so many things that I didn't know how to navigate, and all of a sudden when I joined Hop-In, I had advisers and other people going through the same experience as me to help me through it."
The Hop-In Program supports first-generation and limited-income college students, providing peer and academic support, financial assistance, tutoring services, and more. After participating in Hop-In's five-week summer program, which aims to acclimate students to the college experience, Hughes found herself eager to help other first-generation applicants and students like herself. When the opportunity to work as an assistant to program director Candice Baldwin came up, Hughes applied.
For her work assisting Baldwin and helping execute Hop-In's goals, Hughes was named Hopkins Student Employee of the Year, an award presented annually to a student who has made a significant contribution to the university through their student job, demonstrating their work ethic, reliability, initiative, creative thinking, and professionalism. She was also named Maryland Student Employee of the Year, an award that recognizes those same qualities in college students across the state.