FOSSI | Keeping up with 2023 FOSSI Scholar Jordan Sexton

Keeping up with 2023 FOSSI Scholar Jordan Sexton

January 31, 2024

FOSSI: Could you share a few highlights about your first few semesters at Howard University? Has anything surprised you about college life so far?

Living in D.C. has proved to be a dramatic change from my life in McKinney, Texas — primarily because of the sheer amount of possible local trips and excursions within the city itself, and the neighboring Virginia and Maryland cities. During last finals season, a handful of friends and I used a combination of the D.C. metro and bussing system to travel to College Park, Maryland, to try out a Korean barbecue restaurant, which was delicious! There were activities to do back in McKinney, but Howard unlocked a new daring part of myself that’s confident and wants to seek out fun adventures.

Moreover, my new confidence has permeated other aspects of my life, too. I have a new understanding of my drives, ambitions, and I’m more willing to embrace them now than I was in high school. I recently drafted a list of new hobbies, skills, and habits that I want to build, and being at Howard plays a major part in motivating me to pursue these goals. 

FOSSI has given me so much, so I urge any eligible high school senior studying in STEM to apply for the opportunity to receive unmatched support as they begin their college years.

How has the FOSSI scholarship impacted your experience at Howard University?

FOSSI has blessed my family and me with peace of mind regarding financing my college education. Between FOSSI and other scholarships I’ve earned, I can attend Howard all four years while receiving refunds instead of debt. This is truly a blessing that not many people can enjoy, and I am immensely grateful for FOSSI’s support. In place of not having to worry about my bill, I’ve been able to focus harder on what I want to do with my college education and where I wish to be after these four years are finished.

Right now, I’m focused on attending graduate school to earn a Ph.D., but I want to make sure that this is the path I want to take. FOSSI helps me achieve clarity of mind to focus intently on my future. FOSSI has also helped me form a great connection with my corporate mentor, Mr. David Anderson. He has been there as a source of wisdom and guidance when it comes to the professional direction of my life.

Additionally, the webinars presented by FOSSI sponsors have been insightful and clarifying. I particularly enjoyed the session with speaker Mr. Olutosin Burrell, as the questions and thoughts he presented made me think about what I believed when it came to my success. Overall, FOSSI has played a role in keeping me grounded during my transition into my collegiate journey.

How are your studies going – what are the biggest challenges and what do you like most?

My studies are going well; I get excited each time my professors introduce a new concept in chemistry or chemical engineering, and I anticipate diving into new content. My STEM classes have been great, and my humanities-focused classes have been even better. English last semester was eye-opening and it enriched how I understood my writing and myself as a writer. Afro-American Studies enlightened me to the sheer quantity and quality of Black history that I’ve never been exposed to before. It gave me a better grasp on how I can positively impact the communities I care about.

What extracurricular activities are you enjoying on campus?

I gave myself time this past semester to ease into college life and find a rhythm between attending classes, eating meals, socializing with friends, calling back home, and managing my other responsibilities. I didn’t want to overwhelm myself with clubs or organizations. However, I didn’t prevent myself from enjoying the culture on campus and taking advantage of the opportunities in front of me. I attended my first career fair and spoke to several companies, figuring out what intern positions were available for freshmen like me and how life differs between college and the workforce. The College of Engineering and Architecture at Howard supports companies having “lobby days” in the lobby of one of our main buildings. During that time, I had the chance to speak with companies like Cummins, ExxonMobil, and Autodesk.

I am a member of the Karsh STEM Scholars program through my Howard scholarships, and through the program, we’ve had numerous visitors come to campus and discuss their summer internship and research programs with us. My favorite session was when Ph.D. students from Stanford came to Howard and introduced us to the life of a grad student and how education is structured after undergrad. I’ve engaged in numerous professional-oriented events while making time to embrace the Mekka. During homecoming, I watched Howard win against Norfolk State at the football game, attended the fashion show with my roommate, and enjoyed the spirit of the yard throughout the homecoming weekend. At the beginning of the year, a few friends and I attended the All-White Party Howard hosted on campus. Just as with D.C. itself, there’s almost always something to do on campus, and I’m excited to do more this spring semester!

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I was invited to participate in the Karsh Program’s Summer Bridge Program at Howard University this past summer. The experience positioned me to explore potential professional pathways thoughtfully and prepared me significantly for the new life I’ve begun on Howard’s campus. My summer semester concluded with a trip to Ghana, introducing me to new perspectives and understandings of the world.

This past fall semester at Howard was, indeed, a pivotal learning experience. I needed to learn how to apply self-management and prioritization in a new way. Despite the challenge, I finished this semester with a 4.0 GPA and will continue to perform my best next semester, preserving the same degree of academic excellence.

FOSSI has given me so much, so I urge any eligible high school senior studying in STEM to apply for the opportunity to receive unmatched support as they begin their college years.

Once again, I thank you for helping me turn my collegiate dreams into reality, and I am excited for what awaits me next semester on Howard’s campus.

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