Advancement

Difference Maker

Difference Maker (1)

INSPIRING. HARD - WORKING. DEDICATED. DIFFERENCE-MAKER.

CEPP ALUMNA STARTING A JOURNEY TO WATCH FOR YEARS TO COME

These are words readily used by faculty and peers to describe Ranesha Smith, a May 2015 English education graduate from IPFW’s College of Education and Public Policy (CEPP). As the Class of 2015 Commencement Speaker, her achievements extended far beyond the classroom. As Smith puts it, she really was an example of “how to make the most of your college experience.”

A first-generation college student with a single mother, Smith knew that she would be challenged at IPFW. Starting as a nursing major, she realized it wasn’t the right fit and was encouraged by CEPP faculty and staff to pursue her passion—educating others. “Professor Kanpol helped me realize that we need people to help change education for the greater community. I wanted to be a part of that.”

FOLLOW YOUR HEART

Graduating and speaking to the class of 2015 about her success wasn’t always in the picture. Smith took time off from IPFW, but upon her return, her beloved grandfather passed away but had expressed his excitement to see her following her dreams at IPFW. “I remember the very moment I knew graduating would become a reality. This came the day I decided to return to IPFW. My grandfather had pushed me toward this goal. He told me ‘Follow in your heart what you know to be right’ and I knew that I needed to complete my academic journey here.” Smith says that as a returning student she was welcomed with open arms. They were dedicated to helping her make her dream a reality. “The faculty were like my intellectual parents, who fostered my academic growth but also showed tough love when necessary. I’ve always been inquisitive and the faculty were there for me and cared about my future. The faculty and staff all over campus love their jobs.”

ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES WITH COLLEGE A PRIORITY

Smith tested her skills by working as a peer adviser in the Mastodon Advising Center (MAC). By sharing her story with fellow students she was able to educate, guide, and support while staying motivated. “You can’t escape who you are or where you come from, but it doesn’t have to hold you back. Once I made college a priority, the possibilities became endless.”

Jim Burg, college dean, says, Smith “truly embodies the spirit of CEPP, which is to ‘Do Public Good,’ and that mission is what guides our students and faculty in their work.” She is now at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez working toward a master’s degree with a focus on teaching English to speakers of other languages and writing a thesis on language attitudes held by natives in Puerto Rico.

“As I look back on college, I realize that both giving and receiving support are necessary along any successful journey, because I would not be standing where I am today if I had not encountered all the unconditional support at IPFW. I look forward to going out and making a difference in the world.” Ranesha Smith’s journey as an IPFW alumna will be one to watch in the years to come!