My life thus far has taken many unexpected paths. I came to the United States in 2003 by pure chance. My grandmother was coming to visit her daughter, and she was illiterate in English so I was chosen to accompany her. My visitor’s visa expired in 2005, and I did not find out until the junior year of high school, around 2010. While in high school, I found a mentor in my soccer coach. She helped guide me in my future plans after graduating from high school.
I attended the closest post-secondary institution which was Prince George’s Community College, and the experience was a dream. I had the best professors a student could ask for; ones who did not teach from the text but used it only as a supplementary material. I was again lucky to meet another faculty member, the adviser to the multicultural Kaleidoscope club. She helped me find available scholarships for which I was eligible, and she provided a platform for me to speak to high school students about my experiences as an undocumented student in college. I graduated from Prince George’s Community College in 2014 and transferred to Morgan State University to study actuarial science, a major recommended by my high school soccer coach.
My full name is Motunrayo which in Yoruba means “I see joy again”. Despite the adversity of being an undocumented student, I have been able to find supportive people throughout my life. My high school mentor helped me pay for school by suggesting tutoring and hair braiding. I was already helping out my classmates with their advanced placement classes, so becoming a tutor was relatively easy. I also knew how to do hair, so the opportunity to earn money from it was welcomed. And when I received my work authorization, I was able to legally work at my community college as an experienced tutor.
Now at Morgan State University, my goal is to graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in actuarial science complemented with some IT technical skills. I plan to take my first actuarial exam in October, and to prepare for a SQL certification course by the end of the year.
My involvement with BDPA is through the Johnson & Johnson Scholarship. Being selected to receive this scholarship means a great deal to me. It is one less item on my list of concerns, and it means that I will be able to focus solely on classes and on learning the material than on the payment date of my tuition. Getting this scholarship provides that cushion of one less worry, and it also serves as encouragement to further my studies.
Johnson & Johnson was recently named the BDPA Epsilon Award winner as the 'Best Company for Blacks in Technology' at our recent national conference. The consistent effort in which they provide funding for this scholarship is a powerful reason why the company was recognized. Our hope is that others will see what we are doing ... and take steps on an individual or corporate level to help us do more!