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Erika Igarashi-Cummings

Class 2022

Scholar at Norfolk State University

Skills I developed:

Over time, I’ve witnessed remarkable growth in networking, golf knowledge, and public speaking. Networking used to be intimidating, especially when interacting with adults, but with consistency and practice, I improved. My golf knowledge gained from the Midnight Golf Program has been immensely valuable, allowing me to establish connections with professionals at various conferences and engage with professors on campus. These interactions, particularly discussing golf with professors, played a pivotal role in the grand opening of Norfolk State’s first golf simulator, intended for student use. Additionally, in terms of public speaking, I have gradually overcome this challenge, notably through opportunities like my “Miss Freshman” campaign and holding executive board positions throughout my time on campus. Through perseverance and experience, I have embraced these challenges and emerged stronger, more confident, and better equipped for future endeavors.

Connections you made from MGP:

Thanks to my involvement in the Midnight Golf Program, I was introduced to Norfolk State Admission staff who recommended participating in the summer bridge program, Spartan’s Promise to Persist, the summer before my freshman year. This program proved instrumental in aiding my transition to campus life, enabling me to forge connections with students in all classifications and engage with faculty members from various departments. After graduating from the Midnight Golf program, I received an invitation to the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational, where I had the first chance to network within the golf and professional community. This event was a pivotal and encouraging point in my life where I felt like I could network successfully. Additionally joining the vast Midnight Golf alumni community, I was able to connect with alumni of all ages across the nation. I always know I have MGP family everywhere I go!

Lessons Learned

Lessons learned during my journey include the understanding that all relationships including personal and business relationships matter and emphasizing the importance of staying connected. Another key lesson that changed my life is “Being comfortable with being uncomfortable,” it underscores the necessity of trying new things and seeking diverse experiences to become a well-rounded individual by the time of college graduation. The Midnight Golf program has instilled

into me that maintaining an open-minded approach will enable me to capitalize on opportunities beyond my major, ensuring that I make the most of every chance for growth and development.

How have they helped your goals? What are your goals:

My goals are centered around developing my leadership skills and broadening my knowledge and skillset to become a well-rounded individual. Recognizing the significance of both personal and professional relationships has underscored the importance of maintaining connections, which I believe is pivotal for achieving my aspirations. For instance, when I received the invitation to participate in the HBCU Battle of the Brains, I initially hesitated due to its deviation from my major. However, I am grateful that I embraced the opportunity as the competition not only sparked my interest in business but also provided me with the chance to network within a different industry and connect with fellow HBCU students. Additionally, embracing the famous quote I learned from Midnight Golf, “Being comfortable with being uncomfortable” has fundamentally altered my approach to new experiences. This lesson encourages me to step out of my comfort zone and actively seek diverse opportunities, instilling in me the value of maintaining an open mind. My aim is to positively distinguish myself and my brand to maximize every opportunity for personal and professional growth.

Success Story and Highlights:

With the commencement of my role as Freshman Class Senator, a myriad of opportunities began to present themselves. The following semester, my involvement with the honors college administration facilitated my participation in the HBCU Battle of the Brains, where my team achieved 3rd place. Concurrently, I also secured the position of Vice-President in the Honors College Student Association for the upcoming academic year.

During the summer break, I had the opportunity to intern as a project engineer with Balfour Beatty, while also having the chance to attend the Thurgood Marshall College Fund’s DevCon. In the ensuing fall semester, I had the honor of attending two significant conferences: the Executive Leadership Council Honors Symposium as a recipient of the Otis Worldwide Scholarship, and the Inaugural HBCU Leadership Conference hosted by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

My participation in the NAHB Leadership Conference resulted in the establishment of a chapter at Norfolk State, of which I am now serving as Vice-President. Additionally, it facilitated valuable connections with Andersen Corporation, where I am preparing to intern this summer. Moreover, during my free time, I took the initiative along with fellow Midnight Golf students to charter a Collegiate Midnight Golf Program on campus, where I proudly hold the role of chartering president.