Master’s Student Aims to Open Doors for First-Generation and Multicultural Students

Jinx McLean, a first-year student in the Master of Education in Higher Education Management program, uses their voice to open doors for fellow students. In this Q&A, they discuss their experience at Pitt Education and getting involved on campus. Jinx’s quotes have been edited for length and clarity.

Tell us about your background before coming to Pitt Education.

Jinx: I’m a first-generation, queer, afro-latinx student at the University of Pittsburgh working towards my master’s in higher education management. I’m also from Florida, so I’m still adjusting to Pittsburgh weather. As a first-year student in the program and being fully online for the fall, I feel the transition has been easier than I expected. The Pitt School of Education has really seen me as an individual in the program, helping me to adjust and grow in my new atmosphere.

What drew you to  the Higher Education Management program?

Jinx: My focus will be in either academic advising or supporting minortized education. I am also interested in immersing myself in the diversity and equity atmosphere and working with first-generation college students or those studying exploratory majors.

What is the support system like at Pitt Education?

Jinx: I immediately bonded with and became friends with a fellow first-year student and cohort member. Some of my other support systems are through my graduate student assistantship. Shederick McClendon, the school’s Assistant Dean for Student Engagement, actually knows one of my mentors from Florida State University. The Admissions and  Enrollment Services staff have also been a really great support system. I also love that we take classes with part-time students; they’ve been really great at offering encouragement and helping those of us who are new to the world of higher education.

How are you getting involved in Pitt School of Education?

Jinx: I was recently elected to be the events committee chair for CGSE, the Council of Graduate Students in the School of Education. I’m also involved in PanAf, a graduate and professional student organization with research and/or cultural interests in Black America, the African Continent, the Caribbean, West Indies, Latin America, and the entire Diaspora. We’re working on revitalizing its constitution, making some necessary changes, as we just became active again. I’m currently running for  PanAf’s VP of programming!

What are your future goals?

Jinx: I am considering staying in Pittsburgh and getting a job here. I don’t want to move again for a while. But, if I don’t stay here, then I would like to move to San Diego, California or get involved in international higher education and go to South Korea. I feel that Pitt is preparing me well for all of these paths.

What upcoming project are you excited about?

Jinx: Yes, PanAf! I would love to take a moment to give them another shout out and encourage others to reach out about joining. PanAf is trying to uplift as many voices as possible. We’re adding to the conversation and bringing our interests and needs to the forefront while collaborating and connecting with others. Come join us!

Learn More

The MEd in Higher Education Management program is currently accepting applications. Apply here.

Visit PanAf’s website to learn more here.