Despite the many challenges in our world, we hope you will join us in celebrating good news and big achievements. After hard work and perseverance, Jennifer can proudly say that she was accepted into her top school, Northeastern University, and is a recipient of the Torch Scholarship!
Read her interview below.
Why did you join College Visions?
I joined CV because my school at the time didn’t offer a college advisor. They weren’t setting me up for success, and especially coming from another country, I didn’t know how the college process really worked. CV sounded like it offered everything I was in need of and I also knew Khody (CV Advisor) because he worked at Mount Pleasant High School. It was a great fit and one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
How has CV helped you through the college admissions process?
CV has helped me through the college admissions process by keeping me on track. What I mean by that is they hold me accountable so I can get things done on time (FAFSA & CSS, Common APP, paperwork etc.). College doesn’t mess around when it comes down to deadlines. Furthermore, they’re also teaching students about the college process. There is so much information you need to know that you cannot get anywhere else in the manner CV informs you. Whenever they work with me there’s no judgement, they’re empathetic, understanding, and they’re there for you every step of the way. You can really tell they love their students and that they really want what’s best for us. I needed to be surrounded by that because it helped me keep pushing forward during my senior year of high school.
What is your top choice school? What is your intended major and why?
My top choice school was always Northeastern University. The things that appealed to me were its location (Boston), co-op program, community, & mainly what Torch had to offer. I worked my butt off for Torch and it made me want to have it even more. At one point it was the only thing I was thinking about. For my major, I always knew I wanted to do something in the medical field and because I was in the Pre-Engineering Academy at Mount Pleasant High School, I thought I wanted to become a Biomedical engineer. Overtime, I started doubting the idea and accepting that engineering wasn’t for me. I did a lot of research to make sure and the major I’ve decided to pursue is Neuroscience. I’ve always been passionate about mental health and any neurological disorder because it’s something I’ve been surrounded by my entire life (via family). I want to be the change and I want to help anyone who is going through this. Maybe one day I’ll find a solution and save lives. Neuroscience is the perfect fit for me and at the end of the tunnel I aspire to become a doctor.
How did you feel when you won the Torch Scholarship from Northeastern?
When I won the Torch Scholarship from Northeastern University I was genuinely grateful. The directors of the scholarship called me through Zoom and when they told me I started jumping, clapping, and I even cried. It was something I’ve been working towards for a long time. Too many essays to count, practice & review sessions, scholar interviews, and at last that 6-hour main interview session. I was very thankful to have my support system. Everything meant I was going to college for free and I don’t think I would’ve been able to do it without them. Brianne Fagan (teacher) & Khody Nokeo (CV advisor) popped up in my head immediately to tell them the big news; without them this wouldn’t have been possible.
What does being a first-generation student mean to you?
Being a first-generation student means a lot of things to me like adversity, expectations, breaking a cycle, and setting a path for the future. My mom never had the money to pursue a higher education and coming to the United States in search of that for me added a big weight on my shoulders. Things were always difficult in my life, but education kept me going, education has always been my key to success. I kept overcoming obstacles in order to be successful. I worked hard and took what wasn’t given to me. My life’s mission has always been to break the cycle. My success sets a bright path for the future, for my family and anyone who I can influence.
What would you say to donors who are consistently giving to CV and making this resource possible?
What I would like to say to the Donors who are giving to CV and making this resource possible is Thank You. This is my story, but you have impacted it and thousands of lives ranging from students, their families, friends, and even strangers. The knowledge and relationships we’ve built at CV are for life and with it we use it to help others (everything is connected). In all honesty, without you, all of our success wouldn’t have been possible. I’m very grateful that you strongly believed in us and helped us keep fighting to win our battles by keeping this resource alive. You’ve impacted many lives now, but think about how many you’ll impact in the future. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
Jennifer Santiago Plaza
We are super proud of Jennifer and all students for persevering through this time! And a thank you to CV supporters, you make moments like this happen for so many low-income and first-generation students even during this uncertain time. You allow them the opportunity to reframe their thinking around what a college student looks like and help provide them with essential resources to persevere. Thank you.