Shayla Thacker had a rough start at the University of Minnesota. There were the usual freshman adjustments, like living away from home for the first time and a heavier workload.
“Then in the classes, there’s not too many students that kind of fit my profile,” she said.
Thacker, now 22, is African-American and was raised by a single mother whose income fell below the poverty line. She’s also the first in her family to go to college.
“Just finding other students to relate to, it wasn't a natural process to connect with some of my peers,” she said.