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Joshua O’Bryant’s passion is giving back


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PeerForward Volunteers are individuals dedicated to uplifting the next generation of students from underserved communities. Our Volunteers come from all walks of life, including Joshua O’Bryant who spends his days as a career consultant for the DC government.

Last summer, Joshua ditched the DC heat for some California sunshine and served as a College Coach during our 2023 Cal State University Workshop. We caught up with him to ask about what drives him to serve others:

Joshua O’Bryant volunteering at the 2023 Cal State Workshop.

What drives you to serve first-generation, low-income students?

I have a passion to help guide the next generation of leaders through helping them navigate the college application process. Furthermore, I have coached several first-generation students and what I have learned most about them is that they want to achieve their utmost potential. First-generation students have a difficult time deciding if college is “for them,” but with the help of a college coach they will feel empowered to decide the career path that is the best fit for them.

Please describe the impact of the PeerForward/College Summit volunteering experience.

Over the course of spending 2 summers as a PeerForward Volunteer, I was able to experience meeting numerous students from multiple backgrounds. I believe the connections with students and staff were the most beneficial part of my experience as a PeerForward Volunteer. It is my passion to give back and, with the help of PeerForward, I can do just that!

In your opinion, why should low-income students pursue postsecondary education?

Low-income students are faced with many obstacles, especially when deciding what is the next step after graduating high school. With countless opportunities put in front of them, it is important for them to realize that the career field they choose will help shape their future. The students that come from these backgrounds may have parents that never attended college, so they need additional support throughout the college decision process. Some of these students have never even experienced a college tour. Moreover, I believe that pursuing a postsecondary degree will be beneficial because it allows them to experience what it is like to be around your peers who have very similar goals. I believe the connections they make will help to boost the next generation of leaders.

Joshua O’Bryant volunteering at the 2023 Cal State Workshop.

Some answers have been edited for length and clarity.