Before I was even born, my parents had the dream of seeing me graduate college. However, the prospect of attending a college/university seemed scary and unfamiliar to them as they both received little education. They had only completed elementary school before giving up their educational pursuits to work and support their families at a young age. Fortunately, they arrived in California and formulated a plan for me to immerse myself in the plentiful opportunities I would have in the States and do something meaningful in my life for our whole family with a college education. That college-bound mindset was unconsciously rooted, and I was certainly not going to let them down.
While my parents knew that living in the Bay Area meant more opportunities to succeed, it also meant making sacrifices of what we want to get what we need. Upon arrival, My parents shared a two-bedroom apartment with another family they had only recently met at the time I was born. While we finally got to the point where we could live independently, my family still struggles to pay rent despite living in one of the cheapest apartments in our area. I have gotten accustomed to only having three seats available at dinner (we are a family of four, however), the irreparable flickering lights, the dribble of cold water which is the most we get from our faucets, and the rotten floor tiles that soak up water and make my sister and I sick every winter.
Having arrived with nothing in their pockets, my parents only expected me to receive a public education. However, as I always pushed myself to do well at the public schools I attended, I decided to apply to a private high school. Now having the opportunity to study at Crystal Springs Uplands School with financial aid, my family has the financial room to repair items at home, and I am challenged more academically every day. Now, I consider myself to be a resourceful student being that I learned when and where to get help as I traversed through Crystal Springs’ rigorous curriculum. This ability proved to be even more useful for me is that my parents do not have the academic background to help me along the way. Outside of school activities, I am committed to paving a path for my younger relatives to follow. Most of all, I am grateful… for rewards and challenges alike. They have built me up as an individual who strives to give back.
My growing interest in STEM fields only furthered my drive to do well. People around me have always mentioned the fact that there are not many female scientists that we see in the media. However, one thing that I saw even less of as I completed immunological research over the summer is the representation of Latina/Hispanic scientists.
As a result, I want to inspire other young Latinas in the future to pursue STEM careers and be that face that they are able to relate to because of the color of our skin, background, and roots. This is my way of giving back for a vibrant culture and a hard-working mindset. My ultimate dreams are to graduate college, attain a job I am happy in, and support my family financially. My mind is set on striving for the moment I can tell my parents, “I did it,” and studying at a college is how I will achieve it. I truly believe that the award from the Bay Area Gardeners’ Scholarship Foundation would serve as an enormous aid in getting me closer to this dream.