Edgewood College’s 2019-2020 Community
Scholars
Serving with Heart
Cesar Gomez (l-r), Michel Avalos and Meghan Mayfield serve the
community with a purpose
beyond personal recognition or benefit.
Niños event at Goodland Community Center where he often dressed as one of the mascots who wandered the festival grounds. He was also involved in
AVID/TOPS. While AVID/TOPS is a highly successful college-prep program, Gomez felt the need to do public relations.

“We just tried to promote AVID within our school and try to get rid of the stigma that it had at Memorial. The stigma was that AVID/TOPS was for people who
were at-risk of dropping out of high school and weren’t doing well in school. We don’t know where the stigma came from, but it was still there.”

Meghan Mayfield is almost driven to be involved, saying that she has a hard time saying no. She has been involved in many school activities and athletic
teams. And perhaps like any great athlete, Mayfield was driven to test the parameters of her endurance driven by her concern for others.

“I would volunteer, sometimes early in the morning, prepping for different events or organizations,” Mayfield said. “It could be for a volleyball game or the
college fairs that we did. I could be up at 6 a.m. doing that. And I took multiple AP courses. And so I would kind of stock on different events, multiple events in
a day like Saturday and kind of push aside my own personal stuff. At night, I would stay up until 3 a.m. to complete all of my assignments so that I would have
the next day free for anything that was happening. I remember one Saturday or Sunday when I had two different events to go to. I probably got home about 6-7 p.
m. And then I still had all of my homework piled on top to do too. It wasn’t one of my finer days. I like to look at every situation and gain something from it
instead of just look at the negative. And so, I did learn time management. I learned how to organize myself and my schedule better.”

Michel Avalos spent her high school days at La Follette High School where she was involved with Orgullo Latino helping out with bake sales and Latino
Family Night and the National Honor Society. Her involvement just made her feel good.

“I find it comforting,” Avalos said. “It feels nice to help other people. I probably wouldn’t have experienced many things without doing community service. I
definitely networked a lot. I met a lot of new people and it just feels good to be out in my community after I’ve been here for so long. I love Madison. It feels nice
to give back to my community. I am very grateful to have been involved in my community. And I obviously learned a lot from helping in my community, whether
it was kids or adults. I helped in any way that I could.”

While the city of Madison is 25-30 percent people of color, the Madison Metropolitan School District became a minority-majority school district several years
ago. As all three Community Scholars attended Madison public schools, they were used to a diverse student body. But while Edgewood College has made
strides in recruiting a more diverse student body in recent years, it is still overwhelmingly Euro-American and so students of color leaving the Madison public
schools to attend Edgewood can experience a shock.

“I just struggled with all of my friends not being here and me being one of the only two people of color when I went for Enrollment Day,” Avalos said. “It was
just me and two other girls who were students of color. That was definitely kind of hard. I’m used to speaking Spanglish, a little bit of English and a little bit of
Spanish. That was one of the hardest parts coming here, the culture shock.”

“Coming to Edgewood, I knew what I was getting into,” Gomez said. “I knew the diversity rate. But once I started to live on campus, I realized that I was the
only person of color on my floor. And I definitely felt the change. After about two weeks, I finally got off campus and I went out to the store. Seeing a person who
had the same color as me was kind of weird. I actually was shocked and I told my friends. ‘I don’t know if Edgewood is right for me?’ I’m happy at Edgewood.
But it felt weird seeing a person who looks like me out in public.”

“I knew that being a minority was a very small population here,” Mayfield chimed in. “You don’t really grasp it until you are in a course and you are the only
minority there. It’s kind of like my AP classes in high school. But for some reason, it just felt like I’m much more excluded in a way. I just know that I won’t go
to my next hour and see all of my other friends. The minority groups here really connect with each other. The first week I was here, the BSU president ran up to
me and said, ‘You’re a freshman? You have to join BSU right now.’ I was like, ‘Okay?’ It was the most welcoming feeling I have felt on this campus. I love it
here at Edgewood. But you get mixed feelings when you come here. I just continue on because it will all be the same. That was probably one of the biggest
challenges I faced when I first got here. Finding my voice was a challenge and I learned that my opinion and my education is still valuable here.”

While the Community Scholars have their own unique circumstance of being a minority on a majority campus that creates additional stressors on their lives,
they are still ordinary students who must still deal with issues that many students experience.

For Avalos, she is commuting from the east side of Madison.

“I obviously have to wake up earlier for classes,” Avalos said. “I have to make time for traffic and bringing my lunch if I am going to stay here later and finding
a place to park. The parking pass at Edgewood is very expensive for me. I have to find someplace to park where I won’t get towed or ticketed. There is no easy
way to get from the east side to Edgewood during rush hour. I have to maneuver around the traffic and see every day in the morning when I wake up where the
fastest way to go is. There isn’t never a certain drive I make every day. It changes between what time I get out and how much traffic there is.”

For Mayfield, it was putting the right streams of funding together to make the Edgewood experience work for her.

“The whole loan process is stressful,” Mayfield said. “Navigating that with my mom was very interesting. I come from a single mom family. Just learning to
navigate all of that together — she didn’t have these problems growing up — this was a new event for both of us because her college was paid for. I’m living
in the dorms and that’s where the loan is needed. If I had commuted, I wouldn’t have had a big amount to pay. I decided for me personally, it was more valuable
for me to be on campus and learning alongside my peers more closely.”

In addition to being a student of color, Gomez found another factor that was isolating when he came to campus.
By Jonathan Gramling

People have different motivations for doing the same thing. On some days, the
motivation may be driven by self-interest on and others, it can fueled by pure altruism.
For the 2019 Edgewood College Community Scholars, they are high up on the altruism
scale.

“I just like to do community service,” said Cesar Gomez who attended Memorial High
School. “Sometimes, I might get something good out of it. But sometimes I won’t and I
just do it for fun. It’s a good way to keep me a good busy. It definitely opened up doors
for me and offered many connections that I made, which led me here to Edgewood.”

Gomez was involved with Latinos Unidos at Memorial through which he participated
in school and community projects including food pantries and the annual Día de los
“The male to female ratio is pretty big,” Gomez said. “Females definitely dominate
this campus. Going into my core class, which is homeroom basically for
freshmen, I was the only male in that classroom for the first week. I was feeling
uncomfortable. I couldn’t relate to anyone. It was definitely different than my other
classes. But even in the regular classes in communications, there are only three
males out of 20 students.”

All three Community Scholars are looking forward to providing service on and off
campus. Two of them expressed a desire to check out Big Brothers Big Sisters of
Dane County. All three want to get involved on campus.

“One thing that I do want to do is get involved with the minority events that
happen here,” Avalos said. “There aren’t that many that I have heard of. But I
know that the community of minorities here is really close together, you could say
because there is a limited number of people here who are students of color. I
want to get involved in things like Latino Union and BSU. Even though I am not a
Black student, I think that African Americans and Latinos definitely have a huge
connection because of the adversity that we have gone through. I think a bigger
and closer community between those ethnic groups would be amazing.”

All three also have their sights set on careers that help other people. Avalos
wants to go into neonatal nursing. Gomez wants to go into graphic design.

“I’ve been interested in graphic design since eighth grade,” Gomez said. “I still
haven’t changed my mind. With graphic design, I hope to focus strictly on the
Latinx community and local for-profits to help their business get started and get
promoted.”

And Mayfield has had her heart set on the medical field since she was a kid.

“I was the only third grader who knew what oncology was,” Mayfield said with a
laugh. “I am 100 percent serious when I say I’ve known my career path since I
was in elementary school. My goal is to go on to medical school at UW-Madison
and become an oncologist, which is involved in the diagnosis and treatment of
cancer.”

All three 2019-2020 Community Scholars are bound together by academics and
service. And they will be bound to the communities they choose to live in service
as they pursue professions that lend a helping hand. And that is what the
Community Scholars are all about.