Raised by a teen mom, Angie never felt like college was something she was destined to pursue. She felt insecure in her abilities to succeed and no one around her had expectations for her to do more academically or personally. She believed she would graduate from high school and join the workforce to help her Mom and Grandma, just as they worked hard every day. “I never understood how people who worked so hard could face so much hardship.”

As a sophomore in high school she “began the journey to understand the value of self-sufficiency.” The journey led her to joining the extremely challenging International Baccalaureate program at her high school. It has not been an easy journey, but with hard work, grit, determination, and a growing belief in herself she has achieved success. She became “increasingly self-reliant, determined to construct a path towards fulfilling future goals and breaking barriers and expectations… imposed on me by society as well as familial circumstances.” That success has led her to higher education at the University of California, Los Angeles in 2017.

Angie now plans to focus on addressing the problem of educational gaps in communities around the world and in her own community. Her belief that equal opportunities are limited by financial constraints are coupled with a strong belief that socially imposed expectations must be lifted. Only then can students like her pursue greatness. With the L.I.F.T. Scholarship and mentorship she is now “free to pursue a future that I am able to determine for myself…”