Student Spotlight: Mariah McDaniel, U.S. Air Force

Pomona All Women Cohort and Notre Dame Cohort

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

I had some college experience, but it was so long ago I lost that confidence. Now, I feel confident in entering higher education.

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

I haven’t! The virtual experience was still very interactive, and I don’t think a classroom setting would be much different.

Why were you excited to participate in WSP this summer?

It was confirmation that I am moving forward in my goal of getting a degree.

What have you learned so far that you think will be helpful as you pursue your degree?

Time management, what courseload to expect, and what resources to use.

What was your favorite session, and why?

I enjoyed Professor Rita Roberts. She’s extremely well-read and presented information in such an engaging and insightful way.

Are there any instructors or fellows who have made a difference for you at WSP?

Everyone helped me realize something about myself that encouraged and motivated me.

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

Yes, I feel more confident and more prepared.

Pomona All Women Cohort

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

I completed a few online college classes several years ago. I am relatively confident about academics. 

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

Yes, online college. But we operated entirely using blackboard/chatrooms and no Zoom calls. It was great being able to talk directly with the Professors face-to-face and develop more of a rapport during the WSP course.

Why were you excited to participate in WSP this summer?

I was pretty nervous about transitioning to a rigorous university after completely forgetting about all things academic for the past seven years. I was really excited to have an opportunity to learn from other veterans who’ve already successfully made this transition, as well as work on many of the skills that would benefit me as I start college.

What have you learned so far that you think will be helpful as you pursue your degree?

I have learned how to analyze and engage with complex texts, prepare for seminars, organize my materials, and take advantage of the resources available on campus and online.

What was your favorite session, and why?

It was probably the final seminar when we discussed the previous readings and tied it all together with our experiences as service members. This seminar is when the information first started to really come together.

Are there any instructors or fellows who have made a difference for you at WSP?

Every single fellow and instructor was great!

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

I definitely feel that I can better picture myself completing the transition first semester. I also learned much more about all the resources at my disposal that I previously didn’t know existed.

Yale University All Women Cohort

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

Before WSP, I obtained an associate’s degree from a community college. I then attended a four-year school for a bit before joining the military. As I am getting ready to go back to school, I realized that I needed support in getting back to academic reading and writing basics. After taking part in the Warrior-Scholar Project at Yale, I am much more confident in my success getting back into the classroom. 

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

Like many others, I had to take my learning experience virtually due to the pandemic. During those times, I struggled to connect with my peers and faculty. In comparison, at WSP, I engaged with every single one of the other participants, fellows, tutors, and professors about the readings and our writing assignments. I also obtained specialized attention from instructors who catered to my academic needs and extended their hand in help in and outside of the classroom from beginning to end. 

Why were you excited to participate in WSP this summer? 

I heard many great things about the program from an alum and current fellow. He told me the program would help me get ready to return to school. I wanted to be part of a network of students with a similar background who faced the same challenges in transitioning from the military to college students. 

What have you learned so far that you think will be helpful as you pursue your degree? 

I learned so much from WSP, from properly reading and writing academic papers to how to access the different resources that colleges offer for student veterans. 

Are there any instructors or fellows who have made a difference for you?

All the fellows and instructors were helpful. They went above and beyond to make a difference in my academic path. Not only that, but they all opened their doors to an extended chain of communication that I feel I can make use of without hesitation. 

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

Definitely, I feel fired up after attending WSP. I am more confident now than I was before participating at Yale. I feel that I belong at a good university and will successfully finish my degree.