Youth Spotlight



Jen and her mother at her 2016 graduation ceremony from Cristo Rey Jesuit High School

Jen will be a freshman at the  University of Minnesota this fall to study engineering. We’re honored to share her story and insight, especially now that she can officially call herself a high school graduate.


RLR: What is your greatest dream?

To graduate from college, continue my education and work as an engineer.

RLR: What are you  passionate about?

My Family, education, writing and inspiring others to go after their dreams.

RLR: What were some of your biggest obstacles/challenges during your senior year and how did you overcome them?

I knew I wanted to go to college, but as a first generation college student it was hard because my mother couldn’t help me in the process. I knew I would  need to seek the help and support of college counselors and mentors to learn about college and all that went into entire process.

It was overwhelming at times, but ultimately I’m so  glad I took full advantage of the opportunities available to me.

Having a college counselor and being involved in ThreeSixty Journalism out of the University of St. Thomas really helped me make the decision that I needed to be in an environment that I could continue to learn and personally and professionally grow- I loved being on a college campus.

It’s an amazing feeling to know that my hard work paid off and my mother is proud of me for going after my dreams.

RLR: What are some of your sources you look to for inspiration?

My Family. My siblings and I are really close and as the oldest girl in the family, I know I am seen as a role model to my younger siblings.

RLR: What is your personal mission statement?

My mission is to live my life as the most caring and humble person  I can be and to use my talents to help others around me. I never limit myself on what I can accomplish nor put limits on my ability to motivate others to accomplish their dreams. It’s within me to give back and always remember where I came from.

RLR: What do you hope to accomplish and/or work towards in the next 3-5 years?

I’m excited for opportunity to be independent, make your own decisions and learn new things. I am grateful for the opportunity to be immersed in an environment where I am encouraged to learn, ask questions and thrive.

I’m also looking forward to being part of a the U of M culture and community. Although it is a large campus, I don’t have doubts I will find my unique place that will allow me to grow and step outside of my comfort zone in order to become an overall better student and leader

I want to better learn time management skills and how to best juggle my study and personal time with everything going on and my new freedoms in a new environment.

RLR: Do you have a favorite Quote? “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” -Mahatma Gandhi

RLR:  Who do you admire most? My mother. Her courage, hard work, selflessness and strength are all characteristics that I admire. She has made so many sacrifices in order for our family to have a better life and have more opportunities than she had and I am so thankful for her.

RLR: What do you wish to tell other aspiring college students going through similar situations? 

As a first generational student of color, the statistics are against me.  I am pursuing higher education to not only change those statistics but to convince others that college is POSSIBLE!

RLR: So powerful.

Congratulations Jen, we know you will continue to inspire others and we couldn’t be more excited for your amazing journey ahead!

Hold Fast to your Dreams, 



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