My story begins with my parents who fled the civil war in El Salvador and immigrated to Los Angeles, California.
I first set my eyes on Pepperdine University, the 800-acre campus nestled in the Santa Monica Mountains, as a little kid when I helped my mom clean houses in the wealthy parts of Los Angeles. During the summers, we’d wake up at five in the morning to catch multiple buses to Malibu, Bel-Air and Beverly Hills — communities that felt like a world away from MacArthur Park, the low-income and immigrant enclave I grew up in.
When our bus navigated the curves of the Pacific Coast Highway through Malibu, I often found myself awestruck by the campus that towered high above us, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. My dream became to go to Pepperdine. That dream, however, seemed far-fetched. While my Salvadoran immigrant parents instilled in me the value of hard work and the importance of education, we lacked access to the resources I needed to make such an elite education a reality. What’s worse, my academic preparation was underwhelming.
Through the combination of hard work, guidance from my teachers, support from my parents, and some luck along the way, I eventually was able to accomplish my goal of both attending and graduating from Pepperdine University.
As a first-generation college graduate, I'm passionate about education because it changed the trajectory of my life. This is why my life mission centers on expanding educational equality to children who are in the shoes I was once in.
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