Cleveland State University

Drewcilla Roberts (2016)

My First Generation Story

My name is Drewcilla Roberts and I am an African-American female and first generation graduate, raised by a single mother. Growing up, I attended 11 different schools in six different states. Things were continuously changing, but the one thing that remained constant was my family’s support and belief in me. For as long as I can remember I’ve known that I was going to college—there was never a doubt in my mind.

My drive comes from a mixture of positive and negative experiences. Of course the love and support from my family proved to be very helpful, but surprisingly, the doubt cast on me proved to be just as helpful. As a visually impaired student, I worked with numerous school psychologists. I can say from first-hand experience that sometimes students with disabilities have their potential devalued by the people who are supposed to encourage their growth and ensure that they receive an equal education. During my senior year of high school, my school psychologist told me if I went to a university outside of my home state, I would likely fail because of my disability. Although the negativity motivated me to prove them wrong (which I did), it is appalling that someone would so severely limit a student’s potential. This is one of the many reasons that I decided to become a school psychologist. I am excited to encourage all students to pursue their dreams, regardless of what challenges they may face.

While attending CSU there were many things that helped me excel as a student, but among the most important was my mentor. Meeting Professor Patrick Frato was likely my most important and influential experience at Cleveland State University. I knew that I wanted to work with students; he taught me about school psychology, and when I decided that it was the perfect career for me, he was there every step of the way. Whenever I was stressed about finals, nervous about taking the GRE, or unsure about which graduate programs to apply to, Professor Frato was there to pick up my frantic pieces and guide me in the right direction.

This fall I will start my school psychology program at Miami University, where I have already accepted a full graduate assistantship. My advice to first generation college students is simple: if you put your mind to it, you can overcome any obstacle.

About the Student

Drewcilla Roberts Resized

Drewcilla Roberts graduated Summa Cum Laude from Cleveland State University in 2016 with a bachelor’s in psychology. She has received a full graduate assistantship at Miami University, where she will earn an education specialist degree in school psychology. She hopes to become a school psychologist with the goal of assisting students in identifying and meeting their dreams and goals just as she was able to meet hers.

Student Stats

Name: Drewcilla Roberts (2016)
Age: 21
Year in School: Senior
Major: Pschology
Favorite Course: Adolescent Psychology
Dream Job: School Psychologist

About the School

Cleveland State

With an enrollment of more than 17,000 students, eight colleges and more than 200 academic programs, Cleveland State is committed to providing a hands-on learning environment where faculty and students connect and ideas mesh with real-world experience. We strive to serve the public, to support faculty in their teaching endeavors and research and to prepare students to lead productive, responsible and fulfilling lives in the region and around the world.



  • Kellee Edmonds
    Vice President of Communications and Public Relations
    (202) 478-4662