Fabrice Constant, far left, with classmates and faculty member Dale Sanders at the National Institutes of Health.It’s not easy being the first in one’s family to go to college. Fortunately, Fabrice Constant had plenty of mentors to help him along the way — and that’s why he’s doing the same for others.
“Originally, I wanted to go to a big school, but I basically view it as you’re just a number there,” says Fabrice. “At Alma, you are an individual where a professor knows your name, knows what you are about and has an idea of what you want to accomplish.”
At the encouragement of several Alma faculty members, Constant got involved with the King-Chavez-Parks Mentor Program, which pairs first-year students with both peer and faculty and staff mentors.
Students in the KCP Program do everything from pumpkin carving to having lunches with faculty mentors. They participate in Alma’s Relay for Life, financial literacy workshops, academic success seminars, service projects and movie nights. They take trips to Uncle John’s Cider Mill, baseball games and even go sledding.
Fabrice Constant, in uniform.Having others to point him in the right direction is what drove Constant to become a mentor in the program.
“I know that when you first come to Alma, especially if you come from a different state, you don’t know anybody,” says Fabrice, whose family lives in Miami, Fla. “Having somebody to help you, to show you where you can get help if you need it, is a good thing. So I thought it was a perfect way to help somebody that’s in need.
“Throughout my life, I’ve always had mentors, like football coaches, older brothers,” he says. “They led me down the right path. Since they took their time to help me throughout my process of growing up, I feel like I should be doing the same thing for others.”
His parents had a huge impact on his decision to go to college. They came to the United States from Haiti with minimal education.
“They would tell us the struggles they experienced with not having an education, and that it’s better that you actually go to college,” says Constant.
KCP mentorsHis family members weren’t the only ones who encouraged him to go to college. His football coach and high school teachers also pushed him to get a college education.
So when he was recruited by an Alma football coach who came to Florida, Fabrice took it seriously. During his campus visit, Fabrice and his parents were impressed by the strength of Alma’s business program and the job placement rate of Alma graduates.
In addition to being a KCP mentor and football player, Constant also is involved in the Multicultural Student Union, a student organization comprising students from many nationalities and ethnic backgrounds.
Fabrice, a junior majoring in health care administration, also is involved in the Health Care Administration Professional Development Organization. Students in HAPDO interact with alumni and others in the health care field and have the opportunity to go to conferences.
Through HAPDO, he has accompanied faculty advisor Dale Sanders and other students to the Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters — better known as FEMA — in Maryland. He also has taken a spring term class about health disparities, in which students visited Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Chicago, Milwaukee and Toronto.
“I want to work at a hospital as an administrator and potentially later go back to school and try to get a master’s degree,” he says.