Hometown: Charlotte, NC
Kaneisha Gaston '13 knew Davidson College well-her great-grandmother is Annie Mildred Lowery, famed cook for Kappa Alpha on Davidson's Patterson Court. And many other relatives have worked at the college over the years. "I figured it was time someone went to school here." Three weeks on campus as a rising high school senior-made possible by the July Experience Miller Scholarship-sealed her choice.
When it came time to apply to college, her high school counselor assumed that all International Baccalaureate students knew the ropes, so Gaston was on her own. "I knew I needed to fill out something called FAFSA, but how would I find it?" She researched online to solve that, plus identify scholarship opportunities. Between her resourcefulness and support from The Davidson Trust, "My whole first year cost me nothing out of pocket." She opened a separate bank account for putting money aside-"I think I know more about managing money now than lots of my friends."
Learning for Teaching
She's an alumna of both Freedom School and Leaps and Bounds, two Davidson summer enrichment programs for K-12 students. In the summer of 2010 she was on the other side, as a Freedom School teacher-all good preparation for a teaching career. "I have never lost sight of that goal," she says, and is proud to hold the Wachovia Teaching Scholarship as part of her financial aid award. She's considering an English major, or perhaps a Center for Interdisciplinary Studies major focused on African-American literature. Whichever, a Phi Beta Kappa key is another goal. "My GPA is a little short right now, but I know I can do it."
Black and Proud
While Davidson has become increasingly diverse, she says, "There's more that can be done to support minorities. We are not all the same, of course-some of us are black and proud; others want to blend in. And people still make assumptions about us-our backgrounds and abilities. It's not easy." Gaston falls into the black and proud category-and she has felt support from the Black Student Coalition, her Bonner Program, and STRIDE, Davidson's peer mentoring for first-year minority students. " "I love Davidson. I really do."