Natalie, 17 – FUNDED

Elle Woods grabbed everyone’s attention in Legally Blonde and it was her drive and determination that inspire Natalie Becerra. The 17-year-old junior from Shawnee Mission North High School has dreams of turning big screen aspirations into a real-life career in the courtroom.

What is your dream career?
I want to be a lawyer.

What inspired you to follow this dream?
My family always tells me that I’m good at talking to people and I should do something that helps others. After I saw Legally Blonde, I was really inspired by Elle Woods. I saw how hard she worked to be a lawyer and how her actions were impacting others. I said, “I want to do that.”

What are some of the challenges you have faced while reaching for your dreams?
The main challenge for me has been picking the right friends to surround myself with. I have to pick and choose wisely because there are some people who don’t have the same goals as me. I want to be around supportive, determined people.

How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals?
My mom keeps me motivated. I’m the first from my family to go to college and graduate. She always reminds me of how important it is for me to complete school and says, “You can do it.” She’s definitely my biggest motivator.

​​Why is college important to you?
It’s important to me because I want to get a job that I want. I also want to experience college — the dorms, the classes, all of it. It will change my life and impact my family’s future.

How did funding from the 1,000 Dreams Fund help you reach your goals?
I was so excited to get the funding from the 1,000 Dreams Fund! Before I had the help from the fund, I could only look at community colleges in my area. I had limited options and didn’t even know all of the possibilities that were out there. Now, there’s a chance for me to look at different colleges that have strong law programs.

What schools did you use the funding to visit?
University of Chicago and Washington University in St.Louis. I’ll be adding more to this list too! Most importantly, they have really strong law programs. Besides that, I like the size of the classes. I want to go to a school where I’ll have a lot of one-on-one time with the teachers.