Being First Gen in College: An Interview with Brooke Alum Iyanna Maxwell-Perry

Brooke Newsletter

Approximately 84% of our Brooke High School graduates are the first-generation in their family to attend or graduate from college. We sat down with Iyanna Maxwell-Perry, a 2020 Brooke High School graduate, to talk about her experience as a first generation college student. 

Can you tell me a bit about your journey at Brooke?

I started in Kindergarten at Brooke Roslindale. From my first year until the end of high school, the teachers were a large part of the academic process. I got to know them well and it was a community that I always appreciated because of how close knit everyone was.

Where are you attending college? 

I am in my third year at Northeastern, majoring in Computer Science.

What made you choose Computer Science as your major?

I decided what I wanted to study because of Brooke High School. We had coding classes in eighth grade, and I was good at it all throughout high school. 

How did Brooke prepare you for college?

Brooke prepared me professionally because I know how to ask for help, reach out to others, and make great and respectful relationships. I carried this throughout my college experience. 

What does being a first generation college student mean to you?

There’s pressure that comes with it as an only child because my family is looking forward to seeing me graduate. On the flip side, it motivates me to go to class and do the work because, when I graduate, younger generations will look up to me as an inspiration.

Did you ever face any challenges when it came to the unwritten rules of college as a first generation student?

The thing about going to Brooke is that they didn’t let those types of challenges happen. When it came to college, there were people like Ms. Kerr (Director of College Counseling) and Ms. Holden (Director of College Success and Post Secondary Support) who kept us updated on any deadlines, emails, and other resources that I would need in college. 

Did you have any fears or concerns about college before going? What were they, and how did you overcome them?

I was concerned about the extra tuition balance that wasn’t covered by financial aid. I was able to speak to Ms. Holden and my advisor about this and they helped curve my concern with different systems to appeal any balances.

What are some of your goals following college graduation?

My main goal is to have my co-op from Northeastern lead into my full time role after college. I hope to work at a company such as Microsoft that focuses on technology.