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Aaliyah Jackson (SUNY Geneseo, Class of 2018) first joined Breakthrough New York when it was a middle school program. During her tenure, the program expanded to serve students through high school and college. She was part of the first cohort to graduate from the ten-year college program.

A Successful Mindset

Aaliyah knew from a young age how important it was to attend high-quality schools to be successful. “I loved to read. I loved to write. I always had a passion for education. I felt destined to do this and be on the right path,” she explains. Breakthrough helped her navigate the high school and college processes, which was a key resource since her parents were immigrants and unfamiliar with the NYC school system.

Aaliyah also took advantage of elective classes like dance and improv, where she became less shy and more comfortable with herself. “Learning that my voice is important, no matter how low it is or how loud it can be – they really taught us to embrace that,” she recalls.

A Career in Communications

Aaliyah graduated with a degree in communications and returned to work at Breakthrough with the College and Career Success Program. Her responsibilities included social media management, which gave her some of the experience necessary for her current position. As the coordinator for the Start to Finish program at Harlem Link Charter School, Aaliyah communicates with the school’s 600+ alumni to continue guiding them through their educational journeys.

Her hard work will come to fruition as she hosts an alumni event with over 200 attendees. It fills her with a sense of pride and accomplishment to know that she is using her degree and doing something that she envisioned when she was younger. Reflecting on where she started as a middle schooler, she is glad to have taken chances wherever possible. “Get out of your comfort zone,” she says. “It’s okay to try something new because you never know what you’ll like unless you try it.”

Connect with Aaliyah on LinkedIn.

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