JRF Scholar feature: Gabrielle Hall ’17
January 9, 2017 - Scholars
Gabrielle Hall (2nd row, 4th from left) with fellow JRF Scholars and alumni at the Foundation’s Mentoring & Leadership Conference.
Who is Gabrielle Hall? A JRF Scholar Profile
Gabrielle Hall ’17, a senior JRF/Major League Baseball Scholar at Howard University, recalls two workshops in particular that she experienced as a JRF Scholar. “At my first MLC (JRF’s Mentoring and Leadership Conference), I especially remember the workshops on goal setting and professional communication. Those workshops helped lay a foundation for my success as a college student. I’ve established short and long-term goals that keep me on track in all of my academic work as well as extra-curricular activities. And I continue to benefit from the communications training I received on a daily basis as I interact with my professors and peers – and in my travels abroad.”
Gabrielle is pursuing a degree in political science and working to develop her fluency in Spanish. After graduating, she hopes to teach grade school while earning a Master’s degree in Education, with goals to become a school administrator and influence broader education policy.
“I hope to work to define a system that will provide a level playing field for all students regardless of their background,” she recently told JRF.
In furtherance of her goals, this past summer, Gabrielle conducted field research as a Fellow at the UC Davis Summer Poverty Research Engagement Experience (UCD-SPREE). She also recently participated in a two-week immersion fellowship in Ghana where she researched disparities in education and did community service in various regions of the country. Her trip to Ghana as part of the Young Africana Leadership Initiative was made possible through JRF’s Rachel Robinson International Fellowship (RRIF) program.
Last year, Gabrielle served as a Legislative Intern for Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), pictured, and said the opportunity was “one of the greatest learning experiences that [she’s] ever had.” In a direct reflection of how impressive Gabrielle is, Senator Murray asked her to return for another semester.
“Another very important thing that I learned as a JRF Scholar is the importance of building and maintaining a network. The networking and communication skills that I gained served me well as an intern in the office of the highest-ranking woman in the U.S. Senate. Because of the relationships I built with Senator Murray’s staff, I was able to meet some amazing people. I had the opportunity to give Capitol tours to the family of the Secretary of the Interior and a Boeing vice president, and even met Denzel Washington and Jon Stewart,” gushed Gabrielle.
She spent last semester studying in Barcelona, Spain, and will take part in an intensive language and culture program in Havana, Cuba, this month.
Gabrielle realizes it’s not just about the contacts she has made or the skill sets she has honed. While every JRF Scholar is required to perform community service, Gabrielle truly takes to heart Jackie Robinson’s mantra on giving back. Last year, as a resident assistant for the oldest female freshmen dorm at Howard, she went well beyond the obligations of being an R.A. “For 20 freshman students, I was their first taste of the university, which I took very seriously, helping them manage everything from mental health issues and academics to financial aid and healthy relationships… One of them recently confided in me that if it hadn’t been for that sisterhood, it was unlikely that she would have returned to the university after her first year.” Gabrielle’s commitment to supporting others doesn’t stop there. She joined the Howard Gospel Choir, which performs throughout the year, and Jewels, Inc., an organization that provides enrichment services and mentorship to young urban girls in the Washington D.C. metro-area. Once a week she visits local schools and community centers and touches on topics including financial literacy, black history, professional goals, self-esteem and identity and college readiness.
JRF Making an Impact
Gabrielle professes that the many strategies and broad exposure she has received during her four years as a JRF Scholar, through JRF’s four-year 42 Strategies for Success curriculum, continue to guide and motivate her.
What’s more, Gabrielle already realizes that there is a deep wealth of knowledge and a network that she can draw upon even after graduating and entering the ranks of JRF alumni. She realizes also that she represents the rich legacy of Jackie Robinson and has embraced the obligation associated with that.
“The Jackie Robinson Foundation and my Major League Baseball sponsor have given me great opportunities. They have helped me pursue my goals, which will allow me to reach out and do the same for others someday.”