India Walker says she didn’t have the best grades in high school, but Malcolm X College gave her the chance to start over – and ended up putting her on a path to a career in social work.

After graduating from Noble Street College Prep in 2010, she spent time at a college in Georgia, but ended up heading to Malcolm X College in 2012 because it was affordable and would give her time to figure out exactly what she wanted to do. It was there she found not only a supportive and encouraging environment, but the mentor who would help set her on a path to success.

“My former African-American Studies professor Curtis Keyes is completely amazing. He pushed us to be the best we could be and I wasn’t used to that. He made me look at myself and think ‘am I really doing my best?’ He inspired me then, and has been my mentor ever since,” India explained.

After she graduated with a solid foundation for her education in December of 2013, she went on to earn a Bachelor’s in Social Work from the University of Illinois – Springfield, and a Master’s in Social Work from Aurora University. For the past four years, she has been a behavioral health professional for both children and adults. Currently, she is working with children who have autism. She’s also working on her Doctorate of Social Work at Tulane University in New Orleans.

Reflecting on her time at Malcolm X College, she says “I learned about being an advocate for my community and that one person can make a difference. All your interactions with people can be impactful, either negatively or positively, so work to make them positive.”

She also has advice for students thinking about enrolling at City Colleges: “It’s ok to not be where you want to be, but City Colleges gives you an opportunity to figure out yourself and what you want to do in your life. That’s what it did for me.”

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