When Isabella A. Dolor came to Georgia Tech, her dream was to be a medical doctor. The pre-health Living Learning Community fit neatly in her academic plans. As a serious high school student in St. Vincent’s Academy in Savannah, Georgia, she welcomed Georgia Tech’s reputation for academic rigor.
Looking back, Isabella describes herself as having had “tunnel-vision.” Attending Georgia Tech opened her mind to a variety of perspectives. At Georgia Tech, she grew up and learned about social justice and leadership. Now, she’s forging a career to help people in prison.
Isabella is graduating with a B.S. in Psychology, with a minor in Social Justice.
What is the most important thing you learned at Georgia Tech?
Figuring out what I like and what I don't like.
Georgia Tech helped me find myself as a leader, taught me how I best interact with others, and showed me the learning environments that work best for me.
What surprised you most at Georgia Tech?
The overwhelming emphasis on technology at Georgia Tech was not something I seriously considered before enrolling. I was pleasantly surprised to find faculty and staff members, especially those in Student Diversity Programs, who helped me figure out where I can fit and succeed.
Which professor(s) or class(es) made a big impact on you?
I found Dr. Randolph's way of teaching and her perspective as a black woman particularly powerful. She opened my mind, helped me articulate a personal vision of social justice, and taught me to expand my thinking on how different types of issues and oppressions intersect and overlap.
Before I met Dr. Randolph, I primarily educated myself on social issues. She offered me resources beyond what I would have found on my own. I very much appreciate and cherish that.
What is your most vivid memory of Georgia Tech?
The most impactful times have been when I was in leadership or mentoring roles, such as being a FASET leader or a Challenge Counselor through OMED's summer bridge Challenge Program for new minority students.
What has been most valuable is when former first-year students tell me that they used resources such as the Georgia Tech Counseling Center because I told them about my experiences there.
What was the most valuable outcome of your participation in experiential learning activities?
My current internship as a Community Relations Intern at Equifax has been very valuable, especially because I want to work eventually in nonprofit organizations. Being able to understand how corporate social responsibility operates has helped me gain insight on my future goals.
What advice would you give to incoming freshmen at Georgia Tech?
Ask for help and use your resources. Don't feel like you have to do college all alone or be the same person you were in high school.
You're growing; in college you'll encounter new spaces, new people, and new situations, and you will gain a different sense of freedom.
Be okay with not always being on top of things. Learn that not every path is linear and not everything has to work out exactly as planned
Don't be so hard on yourself, and remember that you are much more than a number. Comparing yourself with others never works; instead focus on your strengths and the people and activities that make you happy.
Where are you headed after graduation?
I will continue my internship at Equifax. I have applied for a fellowship to work on community health at Morehouse College. That will give me work experience in a nonprofit organization. I am applying for graduate programs to pursue a dual degree in public health and social work (MPH/MSW), ideally starting in Fall 2018.
My dream is to be a community mental health provider for incarcerated individuals. I was inspired to pursue this path by a panel discussion on Health Impacts of Mass Incarceration. The social justice track guided my plans for further studies and helped me see what my next steps should look like.