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"CDI invested in me as a human being, beyond just being a student."
Meet CDI Scholar, Rediat
Career Success at Dartmouth
The college application process and journey to graduation can be daunting to some, but especially so for our Scholars, who may not have anyone modeling what the successful path to a college degree looks like. Their road to college is uncharted territory and the specter of the unknown is often overwhelming as most are beginning the process without a sense of what is possible. For CDI, this is where we excel, working with first-generation, low-income students who are poised for great accomplishments given the right supports.
CDI Scholar alumna Rediat is the oldest of three children whose father came to the United States as a refugee from Ethiopia. As a trilingual student, coming from an immigrant family, Rediat was unaware of the college-going process including the world of financial aid and how to find her best-fit college.
As a CDI Scholar, she took full advantage of all aspects of our program— one-on-one time with her CDI counselor, tutoring (her SAT scores jumped 200 points!), core workshops, and cultural events with her peers. Her family’s household income situation made for a very complicated financial aid application process which took multiple meetings with her family and our staff to fully complete. Rediat noted how intimidating sorting through the financial aid process was, but the one-on-one time with her CDI counselor made her goal seem achievable. In the end, she was admitted to all ten of the colleges to which she applied including Colgate University and Middlebury College. After great deliberation, she chose Kenyon College after having received both need- and merit-based aid. Rediat won their Trustee Opportunity Scholarship which is only offered to 5% of qualified freshman applicants. Her college costs were fully covered which alleviated a lot of stress her parents experienced. She flourished at Kenyon as a student leader in several groups, in a study abroad program in Jordan, and over the summers in multiple internships. She was a camp counselor, program intake coordinator, research intern, and an assistant math teacher for a six-week summer enrichment program for low-income students. These formative experiences helped spark her desire to address educational inequities in some way.Rediat graduated cum laude from Kenyon with a Bachelor’s degree in sociology and Arabic. She received career coaching from CDI to help decipher the best option among her multiple job offers. “CDI helped me negotiate the salary. I did not even think I could do that. They really helped me understand my worth.” Rediat said. One opportunity, brought to her attention by her CDI counselor, was a perfect match as it aligned with her interest in educational equity. Rediat is now an Admissions Officer at Dartmouth College with a focus on historically underrepresented students. She is so excited to be able to work with students whose background is similar to hers. Rediat says that her mother considers CDI to be her third parent given the amount of care and attention she received. Of her experience in the program, Rediat shared, “CDI invested in me as a human being, beyond just being a student. The reason that my trajectory is as promising as it is, is because CDI believed in me. It helped me foster a sense of agency, helped me know how to ask questions and that it is ok to ask questions. It helped me realize my full potential and advocate for myself as a woman of color from a low-income background. It helped me grow.”