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Mychael Carroll ’22 First-Gen College Story

From a young age, Mychael displayed a strong aptitude for learning. Her parents recognized her strengths, and wanted to provide her with opportunities for growth and exploration. She grew up in Martinez and attended St. Catherine’s Elementary, dreaming of enrolling at Carondelet but realizing her family would have to sacrifice to cover the tuition cost.
  • Mychael Carroll ’22

“I met a few students that went to Carondelet and they spoke so highly of the sisterhood. It was the first thing in my life I truly wanted. I knew I would have to work hard and pave the way.” Then something magical happened. In 2017 her family purchased Christmas tree raffle tickets at Visions of Christmas, our largest fundraiser. Her name was pulled as a winner for the tuition tree… free tuition for a year! “I met the donors of the tuition tree raffle and for the first time in my life I felt the sisterhood. The donors are alumnae, and from that moment forward I wanted to be part of the community.”

In 2018 she applied and was accepted into the class of ’22. She met many students from different and exciting backgrounds freshman year. It was overwhelming and difficult at first but she quickly found her groove. One of her best friends encouraged her to take AP chemistry sophomore year and she jumped right in.

“It was the most difficult class I had ever taken, but it taught me how to work hard. Academics always came easily to me, but this was the first time I was really challenged. I met some of my best friends in this class and we worked so well together.”

Through AP Chemistry she joined Odyssey of the Mind, a club that participates in a creative problem solving competition. She was immediately drawn to the engineering topics. She learned to explore different areas of science, and soon a teacher asked if she’d consider an engineering major in college. She continued to explore engineering, and attended workshops through Columbia University and Santa Clara University.

“In physics we did a project on how we would fund electricity for people in third world countries. I also enjoyed participating in Engineering for Social Good helping to build the tiny house. Other schools build houses or provide construction based classes, but those students do it for a grade. At Carondelet, the project was purpose-driven to help migrant farm workers. We had a purpose of helping others and I loved that.”

Senior year, Mychael was accepted at Columbia and Vanderbilt Universities as an engineering major.

“I chose Vanderbilt because I think it was the best fit for me. I spoke to Ms. Gill who works in Admissions at Carondelet and graduated from there. She told me that Vanderbilt students are passionate about what they are doing. They participate in many different areas of study and have lots of funI like that because I’m not a one track person. I had to take a step back and decide what was important.”

Mychael is the first member of her family going to college, and they are beyond proud of her. Her father is a track team coach on campus and Mychael overheard him sharing her story with other parents.

When asked what she will miss most about Carondelet she responds, “I will miss my friends. I felt a sense of belonging at Carondelet. It’s become a second homecoming to school early working on assignments and staying late for clubs and other activities. I always felt wanted and a sense of belonging. Teachers stay after school to help you and friends sit with you while you work on an assignment. It’s the little things that demonstrate a commitment to helping each other.”

Mychael is thriving at Vanderbilt and we wish her the best in all her future endeavors!

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