Alejandra, 16 – Funded

Location: Tustin, California

Alejandra Espino, a Tustin High School senior, has her sights set on a dream school like UCLA or University of California, Irvine. But, she’s also interested in heading north to a college in the San Francisco area. Regardless, she wants to study sociology to potentially pursue a career in social work — or even the medical field.

What is something you are most proud of?

I am proud of pushing through… despite my unpleasant past.

Have you gone through any tough or challenging times? If yes, how did you deal with those challenges?

Yes, it took a lot of patience and hard effort to keep working through the hard times.

What does it mean to you to be selected as a Girl on the Rise?

It means a lot. I think it is such a great opportunity that has been given to me. I feel lucky to have it and it will benefit my future.

What inspired you to want to be involved with Girls on the Rise?

My sister [at Big Brothers Big Sisters] talked about how great it was and how many opportunities were available. That inspired me to get involved and accept any opportunity given to me because sometimes they can be life-changing.

How will funding from the 1,000 Dreams Fund help you reach your goals? In other words: Why is the opportunity to visit your prospective colleges important to your journey?

I definitely think that feeling comfortable in a place is the most important detail. Visiting colleges will give me a feel for what I am really looking for in my future. It will help me make decisions based on my impressions of each college. That decision will be the one that changes my life and will push my journey even further ahead.

What schools will you use the funding to visit, and why?

I will visit San Francisco State University and UC Davis because I’ve been thinking of going to a school that’s further away from Santa Ana and Los Angeles, but still in California. They both have a good sociology and medical program, and I am interested to see the diversity in the San Francisco area.