TaBria Cowan is a sophomore from Michigan City, Indiana, who came to IUPUI to pursue a degree in elementary education. Like many other DEAP members, she got involved with the program during Summer Bridge at the start of her freshman year. Those two weeks before her first semester began were critical because she became more comfortable navigating the campus and understanding the expectations of being an university student. Becoming an university student was difficult for her since it meant enduring many changes from the life she was used to back home in Michigan City.
Cowan says, "I had trouble adjusting to college. It was a big change for me, and at one point I seriously considered going back home. I was at a strange school where I didn't yet have any friends, and I was living somewhere new. My family was three hours away. It was a lot to handle all at once, and I didn't think I could do it. The DEAP staff talked me through it and helped me see my own potential. They convinced me to stay, and in doing so, they taught me to believe in myself."
DEAP is just another part of my family now, and I know that whatever happens, I'll always have the people in the program to help support me.TaBria Cowan
Cowan now has a sense of belonging at IUPUI, aided by her leadership role within DEAP and involvement with two organizations the program supports: Student African American Sisterhood and Chi Alpha Epsilon honor society. She is a peer mentor for other DEAP members and is proud that she has been able to help others with similar experiences.
Cowan says, "I see so much of myself in the freshmen I mentor, and I'm always so happy whenever I am able to help them. Some of them are going through the exact same things I went through during my first year. Recently, one of my mentees was thinking about dropping out, a struggle which I understood very well. I was able to pass along the advice that was given to me. Providing support for anyone who feels that way is important, and I'm glad I was able to be there for them and convince them to stay."
Being a leader who knows how to listen and how to advise others is an especially important skill set for Cowan, who plans to become a teacher after graduation. She wants to teach fourth grade and eventually become a principal, an ambitious plan that she now feels confident about.
"I've grown so much in my first two years at IUPUI, and I can't wait to see what comes next. I feel like DEAP is just another part of my family now, and I know that whatever happens I'll always have the people in the program to help support me," says Cowan.