When Dominique Robinson graduates with a B.A. in Applied Psychology this May, he will be thinking about the brother he lost when they were both children as he accepts his diploma.
"Everything I have done, I've done for my siblings and to make my parents proud," states Robinson. "Most of all, I did it for my brother. Without him, I don't know what would have happened to me. I have done everything with him in mind because he didn't have the chance to do the same things."
Robinson, a native of Philadelphia, is the oldest of five siblings, including his younger brother who was killed in automobile accident when they were both children. He witnessed the accident and has carried this image with him for his entire life. He says that it has made him the person he is today—someone who wants to dedicate his life to helping others.
That's exactly what Robinson has done at Penn State Berks. From serving as a mentor in the college's ASPIRE program and multicultural mentor for the "We Are Building For Success" orientation summer program, to being elected president of the Brother and Sisterhood of Cultural Awareness and Community Service student organization, Robinson has proven himself as a student mentor and leader.
Robinson knew he wanted to attend Penn State since he was a seventh grader watching Penn State football games on television. He also knew that he wanted to get away from his Philadelphia neighborhood but still be close to home. When he visited Penn State Berks, he knew he had found an academic home.
"I took a tour and fell in love with the campus," he states.
Originally planning to major in Business Management and complete his degree at University Park campus, Robinson did some soul searching and decided to change his major to Applied Psychology and remain at Berks for all four years.
"I wanted to do something I am passionate about and to help others, not just something to make money," he explains.
"Penn State Berks has helped me find myself and discover the person I want to be. I met so many good people who have changed my life—students, faculty, and staff members. I consider this my first home."
Robinson worked as a teaching assistant for three years in a counselor education course for student mentors. He also completed several internships in his field including one at Schuylkill Valley Middle School, one of the requirements of the Applied Psychology degree. In his spare time, he volunteered as a Success Always Includes Leadership (SAIL) mentor. SAIL is a volunteer program that matches Penn State Berks students who need assistance in certain areas with student mentors who display strength in the same areas.
In addition, he worked as a Residential Assistant in the residence halls and as a Campus Life Assistant. During his time at the college, he was recognized with the Martin Luther King Student Leadership Award, the Blaine Steensland Student Leadership Award, and several other student leadership awards. He was also voted Homecoming King in fall 2014.
Robinson also received several scholarships during his academic career including the Penn State Alumni Association Trustee Scholarship this year, the Judie and Terry Troupe Trustee Scholarship in his junior year.
What does the future hold for Robinson? He has been accepted into Virginia Commonwealth University's Master's in Social Work program, beginning in August. He plans to become licensed social worker and a case manager, working with families one-on-one.
Robinson's brother would surely be proud.