Now a real estate professional, Monique Becker, ’15, gives back to the LEAD Scholars Program, which provides scholarships for high-achieving, underrepresented minority students. Learn her story and how you can contribute to the program that creates a more diverse U-M campus.
During my studies in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, I took several social justice courses. I was typically the only African-American in my classes—a physical representation of the underlying social issues of inequality and racism we often discussed. It troubled me and my peers of color, who shared similar experiences, to be the sole representation in a group of people in the classroom. This made it difficult to have impactful, solution-oriented conversations.
I graduated from the LSA Honors Program in May 2015. At the time, I was unsure of my long-term professional goals but was certain I wanted to set roots in Detroit. After teaching for a year in the city, I was ready for a transition. I recalled a conversation I had had just before graduation with Jerry May, U-M vice president for development, at the LEAD Spring Celebration. He told me if I ever needed guidance, he would be there to help.
Through support from the LEAD staff, the networks Jerry shared with me, and perseverance, I ultimately landed my current job at The Platform, a Detroit-based real estate development firm. As a Detroiter, I wake up every morning excited to help rebuild and grow my birthplace and favorite city, while learning a tremendous amount about real estate. For that, I have the LEAD Scholars Program to thank.
Similar to my experiences at U-M, I find myself striving to break down barriers—this time working in a predominately male-dominated field and in a city facing racial and socio-economic challenges. Thanks to the donors and mentors I met through LEAD, I have felt prepared and motivated knowing that so many others, like you, are doing their part to overcome inequalities, too.
I look back on my experiences through LEAD and feel so grateful for the financial assistance that allowed me to graduate debt-free and for the path of professional success this network has provided. I give to LEAD every year in honor of each of you, who made my experience possible, and because I know firsthand how much impact the LEAD Scholars Program makes.
Learn more about the LEAD Scholars Program and how you can join Monique Becker in making a difference in the lives of current and potential LEAD Scholars.