Stephanie (Computer Science, Hunter College Macaulay Honors)

Stephanie and her older sister had been raised by a devoted single mother holding down two jobs. “Though we didn’t have a stable income,” Stephanie wrote, “we made up what we lacked financially with love and teamwork. Through all of our lows, like foster care, it was OK because we knew that we could always depend on each other, and together we could get through anything.” Then her mother died of cancer in 2016. Since then, there has been a succession of foster homes and stays at the homes of friends. “I have no idea where I’ll be next week,” she wrote from a friend’s home. “I could still be here, be in a shelter like my sister, or back in the foster care system.” “Yet Stephanie has prevailed,” wrote one of her college advisors at City-As-School high school, who added that she was “in awe” of her student. Another advisor wrote, “She is one of the most ambitious, determined, resilient and confident young women that I have met.” Stephanie transferred high schools so that she could graduate earlier. Then she arranged to take higher-level math and science courses at other schools — one of them a college — because they were not offered at her current school. In the Macaulay Honors program at Hunter College, she plans to study computer science. “It would take a lot,” she wrote, “to stop me from reaching my goals in life.”