Uriel, a refugee from El Salvador, thinks of his immigration story when imagining his college studies in nursing. In school, not speaking the language, he worked to master English. “Every word and every sentence I spoke,” he recalled, “was thoroughly thought out.” His shyness disappeared, and his personality shifted “to something that fit the American mold.” That decision to “gentrify my personality” was one he came to regret. He eventually learned that “appreciating my culture and accepting who I am and where I come from is very important.” His academic record in high school is exceptional, even as he works 20 to 30 hours a week in a restaurant. “I am a proud immigrant,” he wrote in his application, “with only a single mother and a sister in my corner. I do not have the most luxurious life nor am I the most talented person, but I am the most driven, the most passionate, and the most determined to work hard for what I want and whom I wish to become.” 

“The mentor who made the greatest difference in my life,” Uriel wrote, “was Anika Rahman. “She showed me what it means to have passion and follow your dreams no matter what, and for that I am forever thankful.”

Many thanks to Perry Pazer for sponsoring Uriel through his college journey.