Abigail Au’s journey at Mendocino College began in 2014. Now, almost four years later she is finding herself with opportunities and experiences she never thought possible.
In her Sophomore year of high school Abigail could barely keep a D in her Algebra II class, so her mom suggested that she start taking classes at the college to earn extra credits. After her first semester, she discovered that the college was a much more effective study environment than high school for her, so she continued taking a few college courses each semester while continuing high school.
By her Junior year of high school, she had started to gain the confidence she needed to excel in school. She was earning much better grades and began developing a whole new social life on the college campus. In talking with her peers and professors, she started to learn about the many support programs and services Mendocino College offered. After discovering MESA and the Learning Center, Abigail decided to dedicate a lot more time towards Mendocino College, so she transitioned to being a full-time college student and part-time high school student. She began to get involved with campus clubs and met people who inevitably played a big role in her academic life. Within one semester, she was being recruited as a Phi Theta Kappa member and got her first job as an English tutor in the Learning Center where she met Janet Daugherty, the Learning Center Coordinator. Janet and the Learning Center broke down barriers to success for Abigail. Having a job on campus and having Janet’s support helped her stay focused and on campus, which made it easier for her to focus on school.
In her first semester in MESA, Abigail met Dr. Amanda Xu, the program director. She says she considers Amanda a role model and that her guidance and encouragement led her to do many things that will shape her life forever. Joining MESA allowed her to part take in several different trips and provided many scholarship opportunities. With the MESA program, she experienced white water rafting for the first time and successfully created a STEM project for a NASA fellowship. Abigail says, “Because of the motivation and confidence I have gained, I can now proudly say that I am the Vice President of MESA, I am the Vice President of Phi Theta Kappa, and I am surpassing all the expectations I have had for myself as a tutor and as a student."