Sophomore Gabreelynn Daniels is following in her family’s footsteps: her mother Rosalind Carter (Class of ’79, B.A., human services); father Thomas Daniels (Class of ’79, B.A., kinesiology); and sister Krystal Parks (Class of ’04, B.A., communications) all graduated from California State University, Dominguez Hills. However, the communications major is blazing her own trail in the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), mentoring her fellow students. In addition, she has written two short plays for EOP to present to incoming freshmen about how to succeed in college.
Although the graduate of Junipero Serra High School in Gardena was already on her path to college, she says that help and guidance EOP really made the difference during her freshman year, which she completed with an unprecedented 3.9 GPA.
“Some of my friends who graduated with me from Serra came here too,” she says. “I took remedial courses in the summertime, they had to take them through the fall, and I’m ahead. I’m pretty much done with my math and the English portion is finished.
“EOP is the greatest. I think everybody should apply for EOP. No matter what background you come from, they really prepare you for freshman year and help you succeed.”
Last year, Daniels wrote a play for high school audiences on the college application process and the importance of EOP for a successful freshman year. Her latest play on the benefits of the Summer Bridge Academy was presented at an EOP orientation event on Feb. 19, and will be performed again on March 5. Daniels, who works as an EOP student assistant and Toro Network Leader, says that she and her fellow student workers are teaching incoming freshmen everything they need to know to excel, from good study habits to time management to navigating the administrative requirements of college.
“I think that it’s good to have a mentor that’s close to your age,” Daniels says of the close relationships she and her fellow mentors have with their mentees. “I help with their homework, and any questions they have, I answer. I’ve experienced my freshman year already, so I could tell them about the classes that they’re taking. If they need anything, I can tell them [who can help].”
Daniels, who will be switching her major to English next fall, aspires to become a novelist for teens and young adults. A great fan of authors Stephenie Meyer, Kate Brian and Judy Blume, she says that young readers need the reassurance of literary characters with whom they can identify.
“I think that young girls need to hear the female perspective, to see how they felt growing up,” Daniels says of writing stories for teens. “When you’re 11 and 12, you think everything is the end of the world but you can get through [difficult] times. There are other ways you can figure out how to solve your problems; you don’t have to get into drugs and sex.”
Daniels has been awarded the university’s Deborah Sears Scholarship, which is sponsored by the Black Faculty and Staff Association. She has also been accepted into the National Collegiate Scholarship Program, and received other academic awards, including an Imperial Court Scholarship from the Daughters of Isis. With a minor in French, she says that she is looking forward to studying abroad in spring 2012. After graduation, she plans to get a literary agent and expand on several book projects that she has already begun. But the budding author still remembers what made her decide to become a writer: her literary debut among her high school classmates.
“I wrote a story in ninth grade in a little journal,” she recalls. “It wasn’t about anything serious. It was a little teenage love kind of thing; I guess people thought it was funny. All my friends started to read it and pass it around. They [said], ‘Oh, my gosh, Bree, this is good.’”
For more information on the Educational Opportunity Program at CSU Dominguez Hills, click here.