FLI Staff Stories

Julie Reiser

Senior Lecturer, Center for Leadership Education

What skills and experiences have you drawn upon to help you in college? Also, what has been your greatest challenge and success thus far?

“Coming from a non-academic family, I often had to figure things out on my own. No one had ever heard of the PSAT or SAT or AP or FAFSA. Because of this, I had to dig down deep inside myself and make things happen. I think this gave me a certain resilience that some of my friends–ones with trust funds or professor parents–didn’t have to cultivate in themselves.”

Your advice for Johns Hopkins FLI students.

“The biggest piece of advice I have to offer is this: make it a priority to talk to your professors on a regular basis. Get to know them and help them get to know you by attending office hours on a regular basis. If you don’t understand something, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. Also, don’t pretend to know something just because you think you should know it or because everyone else around you seems to have been born understanding it. Asking questions signifies your interest in something, and most professors love to help and feel helpful. That’s why we are here!”


Sharleen Argamaso-Hernan, PhD

Assistant Director of Academic Support at The Johns Hopkins University

What personal strengths did you rely upon to help you in college?

“I got involved in smaller communities on campus, I expanded my social network, and I began exploring academic opportunities off the main campus. I met so many more people that weren’t part of the campus “social norm” and this is when my experience became much more rich. I realized that I was spending so much time trying to fit into the cultural norm, that I had forgotten who I was in the process. Once I started being true to myself, I began to thrive.”

Advice for Johns Hopkins FLI Students?

“Ask for help – find “your person” on campus who can be your mentor and help you navigate your way through the campus culture. Find “your people” who will be your support network when you feel all alone in the trenches”


Calvin Wise

Director of Recruitment, Undergraduate Admissions

Tell us about your background. Where did you grow up and what is your family history? How did you end up in college?

“I am born, raised, educated, and employed all in Maryland. My parents are from Northwest Baltimore where my grandparents still reside. I am a first generation college student; however, I grew up in an household that valued education. College was the expectation. Athletics dictated my college search playing Division III basketball at St. Mary’s College of MD.”

Your Advice for Johns Hopkins FLI students.

“You belong. Being extremely involved in our selection process, it’s really hard to hear FLI students question their acceptance. They earned their spot at JHU just as much as any other student on our campus.”


Andrea Wiseman

Assistant Director of Life Design: First Year Whiting

When did you realize you were a FLI student? How did it affect you (if at all)?

“I didn’t really realize until after graduate school when FLI was a term used more often. But, looking back, parts of navigating college would have been much easier had I known certain resources and processes (i.e. financial aid, work study, academic advising) as well as how to prepare for post-college options.”

Your advice for Johns Hopkins FLI students?

“Use your resources whether it’s financial aid, disability services, academic advising, diversity/affinity groups/departments, faculty, staff, advisors, etc. Don’t be afraid to ask for help because navigating college is not intuitive and it’s not meant to be something you do without the help, support, guidance of others.”

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