PeerForward Alumni like Jeremy Acaba carry the spirit of a Peer Leader long after their workshop. This week, our Alumni Spotlight is on Jeremy, who is using his leadership skills to make postsecondary success a reality for first-generation students of color all year long.
Jeremy began his PeerForward journey as a BRACE Cadet in Broward County, Florida; as such, he helped his classmates prepare for college, career, and life after high school by hosting events aimed at completing applications for college, scholarships, FAFSA, and much more. As a 2020 high school graduate, Jeremy preserved through the uncertainty of the pandemic to attend American University where he majors in International Studies. In 2022, Jeremy continued to inspire and uplift Black, Latinx, and first-generation students as a PeerForward Alumni Support Team Member.
In this spotlight, we asked Jeremy why he chose to serve as a Peer Support Specialist and how he chooses to impact his community outside of PeerForward workshops.
Q: Jeremy, why did you choose to come back as a PeerForward Alumni?
J: I became an alumni to inspire others, show college as a reality to others, and most importantly, reciprocate what was shown to me when I was a PeerLeader.
Q: What’s been the most rewarding part of attending your college/university?
J: The most rewarding part of attending American University, as a first-generation Latino, has been making my mom proud of me! Another rewarding part has been taking active leadership roles, founding a Latino organization on campus (in a predominantly white institution PWI), and being the fastest-growing organization in campus history!
Q: How did PeerForward change your perspective of college?
J: PeerForward helped me see college as a real possibility despite financial burdens. I grew knowledgeable on writing college essays and more importantly, I understood how financial aid works and all the resources at my disposal to have most of my college expenses paid. PeerForward guided me into seeing how affordable college could be, tapping into my resources.
Q: How have you been a positive influence on your peers in college?
I founded a mentorship program: Pa’ Mi Gente (For My People), which matches high school students with college students based on shared identities to encourage and guide them along their college application process.