Interview by Liliana McIntosh, Mikela Jones, and Jayla Turner, Education Change Interns
At Common Ground, we believe that EVERY student can & should graduate college ready, with admissions to colleges that match their passions and pathways. And, we celebrate that students will choose all sorts of pathways after they graduate. This year, Common Ground launched a new partnership with Higher Heights, a community organization focused on supporting students’ success after high school. As part of this partnership, Danielle Dixon has jumped into Common Ground’s Pathways Team – the group of Common Ground staff who help make sure all of our students are on a path to college and careers, leadership and life. Recently, Dani sat down with our Education Change Intern team to share a little more about herself!
My name is Danielle Dixon, but y’all can call me Dani. My pronouns are she/her. I’m a College Access Advisor from Higher Heights, working at Common Ground.
Dani’s Path To Common Ground
I’m currently attending Southern Connecticut State University and I’m graduating on May 20th. I’m earning a Bachelor’s in Interdisciplinary Studies with a Concentration of Public Health, Wellness & Nutrition.
I’ve done a lot! Most of my career has been as a Birth Doula — a person who provides emotional and physical support to others during pregnancy and childbirth.
While I was completing my Degree at Southern, I was a Peer Mentor, an Academic Coach, and a Peer Coordinator for a summer program.
My first job was at the Witness Project of Connecticut. I taught sex ed and other content related to wellness and health.
What Dani Does at Common Ground
Here at CG I meet with both juniors and seniors to assist with post secondary planning. Whether we’re talking about how to apply to 4-year college, a community college, or a trade school, I’m here to support and give the best advice that I possibly can, as someone who has gone through the process of applying to colleges not too long ago!
One thing I did was help to organize a college tour of the East Coast. It gave me a chance to get close to a lot of students, in a way we could not have done in school. I don’t want to take full credit for this – it was a team effort!
Currently I am planning a signing day for seniors, when we can celebrate the colleges that they are planning to attend.
Dani’s Goals at Common Ground
I would love to shift the narrative, so that…
- ALL students can go to college.
- Students who don’t choose to go to college know that there is still a successful pathway for them.
- CG staff truly work together to support every student.
I feel very blessed and lucky to have the opportunity to support students (specifically juniors and seniors) and their future planning.
Why Dani Chose Higher Heights & Common Ground
I chose Higher Heights because I knew how influential they were within the community when it comes to youth work.
Higher Heights’ message is “Equip, Empower & Encourage.” Those three things really resonate with me when it comes to supporting students and youth overall.
I love being at Common Ground! The students here are amazing, really funny, and engaged with their plans. They’re really transparent with me about how they’re feeling, their motives, what they want to do, how I can support them.
I really like working with the staff here at CG as everyone has been super supportive of me entering—everyone has really made me feel welcome.
Life Outside of Common Ground
I come off as a more energetic individual when I come to CG or when I’m involved with students, but when I leave this place, I sleep and take naps.
I love dancing! I used to go to a performing arts school when I was in high school, and I continue to do a lot of arts outside my college classes.
I’m starting my own family, as well. I’ve been with my significant other for the past six years. Together, our family consists of 4 geckos and a kitty.