First-generation, International, And COVID-19 Graduate Says Goodbye And Gives Thanks To UNCW | Old North State Wealth News
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First-generation, international, and COVID-19 graduate says goodbye and gives thanks to UNCW

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Taking a closer look at one Seahawk leaving the nest. This UNCW graduate said the challenges she faced led her to this very moment. WWAY spoke to her just ahead of her steps across the stage. 

“I’m really proud to be here today,” Michelle Kerr said. 

Many students celebrating Friday’s commencement began their college journey amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. An already difficult transition was made more challenging for students like Michelle Kerr. 

Kerr is a first-generation college graduate from Ontario, Canada. 

“I just really wanted to move to the U.S. and get my degree and further my career. As a non-traditional student and international, it’s been so amazing, and I’ve just loved every moment of it,” Kerr said.

Despite relying on remote learning in the beginning of her time in Wilmington, she remained optimistic and joined an a Cappella group on campus called UNCW Seabelles. She also became an active member of Brush of Empowerment. The UNCW organization has a special mission. 

“We help victims of domestic violence, and we do a lot of work collecting donations for local women’s shelters,” Kerr said. 

By joining this organization, Kerr discovered her passion for helping others. That’s why she decided to major in criminal justice and minor in forensic science. She said she hopes to continue advocating for victims of crime. 

She said she finally feels like she’s found her place during her stride to success as a first-generation, international, COVID-19 college graduate.

“It’s just been such an honor to be a part of all of those different organizations and I feel really grateful,” Kerr said. 

Kerr encouraged other soon-to-be college students to get involved on campus because it may be how you discover your passion. 



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