Q&A: Rachel Osmer, of Mpowering My Success

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Mpowering My Success life skills coach Rachel Osmer
Mpowering My Success life skills coach Rachel Osmer

Rachel Osmer joined UM-Flint this year as the Mpowering My Success life skills coach. She shares her thoughts about the program, mentoring opportunities, and more in this Q&A with University Communications & Marketing.

What would you like to share about your professional background, and about your goals within this position?

I graduated with my Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor in 2014 and I finished up my Master of Social Work from Eastern Michigan University this summer. I spent the last three years working at Eastern Michigan University working with their GEAR UP program for a year and two years with their MAGIC Program. The work I did at EMU with the MAGIC Program is similar to what I’m doing now at Mpowering My Success. I was able to hit the ground running here at UM-Flint because of my experience at EMU. 

Prior to my work at EMU, I spent two years working with Americorps through the Michigan College Advising Corps. I was a college advisor at Ypsilanti Community High School. This position really educated me on the importance of access to equitable education for everyone. I learned a lot about higher education systems and how to facilitate the navigation of those systems. This experience at Ypsilanti Community High School sparked my passion to get my degree in social work. I wanted to be able to make a bigger impact. 

I’m very excited to be at UM-Flint now working with the Mpowering My Success Program. It feels as though my path was very laid out to continue working in higher education. I am planning to spend a while working at UM-Flint with the Mpowering My Success Program. Eventually, I would like to return to graduate school for a doctoral degree in public policy. I’m passionate about seeing changes made at a systematic level, and plan to someday work in that system impacting change. 

What are your impressions of the university?

You never know what you’re going to get, as far as a working environment, when you start a new job; however, I’ve found UM-Flint to be one of the most welcoming environments. The people of UM-Flint have a genuine community and are very gracious to newcomers. I’ve found myself able to reach out to departments all across the campus and am greeted with positive support everywhere I go. UM-Flint’s small campus has been perfect for me to quickly feel like I’m at home here. 

What would you like students and the community to know overall about Mpowering My Success? What is unique about the program?

Mpowering My Success is a great program, and if you don’t know about MMS, you should educate yourself! We’re a small program, but we do cool work! You may have seen a few of our signs throughout campus, but knowing what we do can help you to refer students or friends that you think may be eligible. MMS provides academic, social, and emotional support to students attending UM-Flint who have experienced foster care. There are some qualifications that the students must meet based on our funding in order to be eligible, but once they’re eligible they have access to support to help them navigate their college career. 

MMS is more than just a life skills coach who is making sure you’re passing your classes. I work individually with students to help them find success inside and outside the classroom. There are many obstacles that you wouldn’t think could be challenging until you’re hit with the obstacle. The barriers for students who’ve experienced foster care can be tough. MMS works with students to connect them with community resources, like therapeutic counseling. Ultimately we assist Mpowering students with any challenges they may face while working towards their degree, whether it is academic or personal, and we want them to successfully graduate from UM-Flint. 

And we are also looking for potential mentors among our UM-Flint faculty and staff! Part of the MMS program is the connection of students to a one-on-one mentor who works at UM-Flint. This mentor is a great resource for the student, and it’s a great opportunity to get involved in your UM-Flint community. If you’re interested in the possibility of becoming a mentor to an Mpowering student, please reach out to us! 

What should students know about how they can work with you or others within the university? 

Students who’ve experienced foster care should reach out to us to see if they’re eligible for our program! And if you know someone that you think should know about our program, tell them about us! You never know how much of an impact a program like MMS can have in a student’s life. We’re also always looking for new ways to partner with other campus organizations. If you’re interested in potentially partnering on a project, please reach out! 

Robert is a staff writer in University Communications & Marketing. Contact him with comments, questions, and story ideas.