Warrior-Scholar Project 2020 UCI Cohort Spotlight: Tia Carr

Tia Carr, active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps

Tia Carr
Tia Carr

What was your educational experience prior to WSP? Would you consider yourself a confident student?

Before WSP, I was not a confident student. I considered myself anti-math, pro-English, and anti-homework. I was a career procrastinator and graduated high school with a low GPA. I then went to college for two years where I continued to slack off. I decided to enlist in the Marine Corps to foster growth and narrow my focus. 

Had you participated in any sort of virtual learning before? If so, how does your WSP experience compare to that?

Prior to COVID-19 and the WSP program, I had only attempted one or two online courses, which I quickly withdrew from. The social and visual aspects of Zoom and WSP's use of it delivered a surprisingly comprehensive learning experience that I wasn't able to get with my previous online classes. 

Why were you excited to participate in WSP this summer?

After being in the military for a few years, it became clear to me that I wanted to go back to school and pursue a different career path. Unfortunately, I could feel the atrophy of my academic skills and tried to strengthen them on my own. I was so excited about WSP's curriculum because I knew it would give me new tools and refresh old ones that would help me learn and succeed, in, and out of the classroom.

What was your favorite session, and why?

Each professor WSP and UCI introduced us to was so gracious and eager to share and discuss their fields. My favorite session was the seminar with Dr. Anita Casavantes Bradford. She taught us what professors would be looking for and appreciate in a seminar and challenged us to step out of our default dialogue. She asked probing questions and accepted challenges from the participants. Dr. Casavantes Bradford is a brilliant, kind, and generous woman!

Are there any instructors or fellows who have made a difference for you at WSP?WSP fellows Derek and Lisa had the greatest impact on me throughout the course. Derek always chatted up the participants before and after classes and made everyone feel really comfortable. During our daily check-ins, we'd get carried away with conversations about the material and just life! He's a great, charismatic guy and I was so glad to have him as a fellow for my WSP-UCI class. Lisa was always a calm and quiet presence and was consistently and appropriately relied upon by the professors, fellows, and participants. We were only able to check-in together once, but it had to be the most encouraging moment of the whole program for me. She validated my work and efforts and gave me feedback that helped me believe more in myself and my capabilities. 

Is WSP having any effect on how confident you feel as a student?

I am so excited to get back into the classroom and use what WSP has taught me. Until then, I've got some pretty dense books that I may take another crack at. I am so grateful to have had this experience and hope to revisit WSP at Columbia University in 2022, right before my EAS!

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