Story by Leigh Phillips with contributions from Tanielma Costa, Class of 2020
The footprint of BRYC College Fellows and Alumni keeps growing. They are in all corners of the country, from California to New York and Tennessee to Wisconsin. In fact our College Fellows and Alumni attend or have graduated from colleges in 20 different states. Two College Fellows, Caleb Patterson and Rantel Ransom, have found their places thousands of miles from Baton Rouge at Colby College in Waterville, Me.
Waterville and Baton Rouge are polar opposites climatically, demographically, and culturally. After graduating from Lee Magnet High School in 2016 and moving to Maine, Caleb observed some major differences between the two cities. “I feel that the lack of diversity in Waterville, at least compared to Baton Rouge, has created some unique social relations amongst the people there,” he said. However Caleb has felt welcome in this very different place, explaining, “Luckily, I have not run into much hostility as an outsider there.” “People care about each other and they will be friendly to you as you are to them,” he said.
Caleb has been interested in politics since high school and studies history at Colby. Living in Waterville has further solidified his interests, as he noticed that Waterville residents seem to be more politically informed than Baton Rouge residents are. “Looking into how they run their communities is a nice experience,” Caleb said.
Caleb plans to use his studies and experiences to pursue a career in either politics or non-profit management. He wants to focus on community and economic development. BRYC influenced Caleb’s career goals, as he explained, “These intentions primarily stem from spending time at BRYC and appreciating how that organization worked.”
The QuestBridge National College Match brought Caleb and Rantel (Madison Prep ‘17) to Colby. QuestBridge provides high-achieving, under-resourced students with full scholarships to the top colleges in the nation. After undertaking a rigorous and highly selective application process, both Caleb and Rantel were “matched” to Colby, a school they had never heard of before QuestBridge. Matching necessitates a bit of blind faith, as accepting a scholarship offer through the program requires students to make an early and binding commitment to the school they match with. That QuestBridge assigned Caleb to be Rantel’s mentor eased both their transitions. “It’s always good to have someone to talk to about home when you’re far away from it,” Caleb said.
Caleb is currently stretching his learning to even farther corners of the globe, as he is studying abroad at the University of Sevilla in Spain. While in Sevilla, Caleb is taking a variety of classes with an emphasis on history and Spanish. “I’ve always loved learning about Spanish and wanted to use this abroad opportunity to become fluent in Spanish,” he explained. “I think it would be amazing to be bilingual and be able to converse with various people.”
When asked whether he would encourage other Fellows to attend schools they had never heard of, Caleb said, “Why not go see something new and expand your horizons?” He encourages other Fellows to be open to and take advantage of the possibilities in front of them, especially with a resource like BRYC at their disposal.
Caleb’s openness to new experiences resonated with Junior Fellow Tanielma Costa. She explained:
Many Fellows have joined BRYC for various reasons: we might have heard about it at school, our parents might have made us join, or even, in Caleb’s case, his girlfriend motivated him to join. But, once having joined BRYC, there is no mistaking that it is a wonderful resource and a privilege to be a part of. Being a BRYC Fellow opens up new doors we never even conceived could exist. With the right mindset and resolve, BRYC will aid us in laying the foundation to a better future. Our only hinderance is our willingness.