First-Generation College Celebration: An Interview with A'Dymond Sammons ’26
A'Dymond Sammons’ interest in electrical engineering began in a high school physics class, when she started learning about circuits. “I really like circuits, how to make lights work, electricity,” said A'Dymond. “I really liked math a lot. I took a physics class my junior year of high school. And I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh.’ I really liked the circuits part. I also took an engineering class, and I loved it.” With A'Dymond’s interest in circuitry, electricity, engineering, and math, her high school physics teacher suggested she look into electrical engineering.
A’Dymond says that it’s the hands-on active learning that happens in labs that she most enjoys at Miami. “When I go to engineering labs, I get excited,” said A'Dymond. “I'm a hands-on person, so when we get to do the labs, it's very fun. It's very nice. I was hesitant about being an engineer, but then once I got in the lab, I was excited and felt like I was in the right place.”
Where did A'Dymond’s hesitation about being an engineer come from? “I really like school, and I do want to get my degrees,” said A'Dymond. “But some days, I think to myself, ‘This is really hard! Maybe I should not do this.’ I've actually told my mom, ‘I don't know if I want to be an engineer.’ And she's asked me, ‘Well, what do you want to do?’ And I tell her, ‘Nothing else sounds enjoyable to me.’ I can complain about it all day long, but I'm still going to go to class, I'm still going to get my work done, because it's a personal goal for me to finish. I know I need to, because it's something I enjoy, and it's gonna pay off in the long run.”
What has helped A'Dymond maintain her persistence in the face of a challenging engineering curriculum? “I will say NSBE, the National Society for Black Engineers,” A'Dymond said. “Coming here, I didn't think there was going be a lot of people of color, especially in engineering.” But, through the Miami University chapter of NSBE, “I'm surrounded by people who I can hang out with outside of school and also be engineers. It’s really, really nice to have that sense of community. It's a comforting feeling to be around people who are doing what you do and also have the same identities as you. There are some days where you feel like nobody goes through what you go through. But then once you open your mouth and say it, the whole room is like, ‘Yeah, I went through that.’ And it's like, okay, we’re all on the same page. So that's really helped a lot.” A'Dymond says her participation in LSAMP (Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation) is also a source of support. “It’s for minorities in STEM majors,” said A'Dymond on LSAMP. “I met a lot of my friends that I still have to this day in LSAMP. We all kind of stay close together. It has also helped me with my professional development so much.”
A'Dymond is the first in her immediate family to go to college, and her family definitely celebrates her success. “I don't want to say I'm like the spotlight child of the family, but it's like, ‘She's an engineer. She's going to school for engineering.’ Everybody's constantly like, ‘Oh, my gosh, how school going, how's engineering?’” Support from her family means a lot, especially the encouragement she receives from a cousin who is familiar with college life. “Nobody really knows how hard college is in my family, except for my cousin. He went for business, but he also got his master's. So he'll call and check on me.” On difficult days, this support helps A'Dymond see the rewards waiting for her. “I'll just tell him, there are days I just want to sit in my room and cry because it's just so much. And he’s tell me, “It’ll be worth it in the end. Trust and believe it.’”
Insight from other college students also helps A'Dymond manage the challenges of demanding coursework. “I've been a straight A student my whole life. I graduated with a 4.36 GPA and 32 college credits. I told myself, ‘I'm gonna do fantastic when I get to college.’ But I get here and I fail my first calc exam. I was thinking to myself, ‘Oh, no. No. This is crazy.’ And I realized, throughout school, I never had to study because things just clicked for me. I started to realize I didn't know how to study correctly.” To remedy this, A'Dymond found good studying habits on Tik Tok and other Internet sources. With the tips she got from other college students on these platforms, A'Dymond has found studying strategies that have helped her continue to succeed.
What’s next for A'Dymond? “I'm thinking about doing a four plus one,” said A'Dymond, referencing Miami’s 4+1 program for graduating with a combined bachelor’s and master’s degree in just 5 years. “I just don't know what I want to get my Master's in yet. I don't know if I want to do engineering or if I want to do business.” Pursuing this path would mean an additional year spent on Miami’s campus, an environment that A'Dymond says she knew she wanted to be a part of even before she got out of the car on her first campus visit.
“I applied to 12 different places. Miami was one. I was trying to find a school that made me feel like I was at home. When I got here, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is so nice. I think I want to go here.’ And I told my mom, before we even got out of the car, ‘I think I'm gonna go here.’ And my mom said, ‘The tour hasn't even started.’ But it was kind of a gut feeling. I've talked to other people who've come here, and they also told me that they had that gut feeling. I'm glad I'm not the only one.”
Deciding to come to Miami University, in the end, was an emotional moment for A'Dymond. “Literally, I have a picture of me accepting my acceptance to Miami. And I was just bawling my eyes out. I don't know why. I think it was just because I was so happy that I was in college. When I finally accepted it, it was a really big milestone for me.”
What is the First-Generation College Celebration?
The First-Generation College Celebration (FGCC) is an annual event celebrated across college campuses on November 8th. The celebration recognizes the accomplishments of first-generation college students and commemorates the signing of the Higher Education Act (“HEA”) of 1965.