Humans of UMBC: First Gen-Edition April 2021

Yvette Mozie-Ross

This is a formal portrait of Yvette

The “Human of UMBC” for the month of April is Yvette Mozie-Ross. Dr. Mozie-Ross is the Vice Provost for Enrollment Management and Planning. She is responsible for the processes involved from undergraduate admissions and orientation to graduation.

Q: Tell us about yourself: what do you do, what are your goals, what school did you attend, what was your major, etc. 

A: “I work as the Vice Provost for Enrollment Management and Planning. I am responsible in foreseeing students’ progress from recruitment into college until their graduation. I am a proud alum of UMBC and have been here for more than 30 years, working in residential life as an undergraduate and now as a Vice Provost in higher education. I have had a wonderful journey in my time at UMBC from doing undergraduate studies back in the 80’s. My husband is also a UMBC alum, and my son is a current student. We bleed black and gold in my household. Initially, I went to UMBC to pursue healthcare as a biology pre-med major. However, an interaction with my academic advisor led me to come to a realization that I truly wanted to major in what was back then known as Health, Science, and Policy.”

Q: What does being first-gen mean to you? Do you think being first-gen is a negative term?

A: “Being a first-generation student to me means resilience. The fact that you have made it this far means you have shown consistent perseverance despite your situation. You know how to bounce back because you have endured some challenges along the way. You learned to be resilient and become resourceful by reaching out through research and figuring out what it out there to support you. I believe being First-Generation is more positive and looked at like a “glass half-full”. ”

Q: Tell me about a challenging time and how you overcame it? (in regards to being first gen)

A: “A challenging time for me would be “not knowing what you don’t know.” An instance of this was in my sophomore or junior year when I made the decision to pursue a certificate in Manager in Economics. The economics field is a typically a white-male dominated field of study, but I was passionate and thought it would be a compliment to my undergraduate major. Upon realizing that I was not at the starting line in my class, meaning when I learned the students in my class had already formed a personal relationship with my professor, I knew I needed to begin leveraging my resources and support to also gain an advantage. The qualities that I had of studying, focusing, and working hard were fine, but my first-generation naivety of this advantage held me back from competing fairly with my classmates. It made me realize that in the world, we are not all playing on the same level fields.”

Q: What is something you wish you had when you were starting off in school? (resources, mentorship, etc) 

A: “Before starting off in college, I wish I knew of the programs available to help students move from high school to college. If possible, I would recommend living on campus at least for the first year because it will provide dividends and exponential returns. In that one year, you are making many connections that can be leveraged not just for that first year, but for the rest of your life. ”

Q: What is something you’d like to see change moving forward in regards to first gens in college?

A: “I love that we are now celebrating being a First-Generation, because it is no longer a taboo like it was back then. I absolutely love to see this new celebration here at UMBC. I’d love to see more funded transition programs from high school to college geared towards first-generation students. These programs meet that gap between high school and college, because that summertime between graduating high school and starting college is critical to student’s potential to success.”

Q: What is your favorite food?

A: “My favorite food has got to be a good bacon cheeseburger. I can’t eat it all the time but I do love a good bacon cheeseburger without the bun, especially from Five Guys with their Cajun fries.”