Write an essay where you tell us about what drives you in your pursuit of your graduate degree.

My name is Valerie Salazar and I am currently pursuing a master’s degree in College Counseling and Student Development. As a first generation Latina college student I faced many struggles but with the help of my mentors that I met in my undergrad I realized that this was the career I wanted to also pursue. Growing up I was not motivated for school since my family and I moved so much. I went to multiple schools growing up and as soon as I adjusted I would move and have to start all over which lead me to little motivation to do well in school. When I went to high school I became friends with students who were part of a college found program and they motivated me to enter the program which I was able to do so but felt like I did not belong all along. I was accepted to a four year university which was very exciting and I thought that I would do good but once I began I felt unprepared and lost throughout the journey but I had a counselor who helped me a lot throughout my journey and there was a point where I wanted to drop out but she motivated met to pursue my goal and introduced me to higher education. I started to intern as a peer mentor and I really enjoyed it. That motivation and empowerment that I received from my mentors is what I aspire to do. I have been helping students in higher education as a peer mentor, high school outreach coach, and first-year coach. I have enjoyed all the different positions that I have held throughout the years and want to continue to grow and learn to help the students even more! I have been able to relate to many students and would like to continue to support them as they work on their educational goals. Although I am very passionate about this career I find myself struggling to financially provide for my education. My current position is unstable and cannot provide for my education and personal expenses with my income. If I am awarded the Mometriz scholarship I will be able to pay forsome personal expenses like rent, or food, or transportation expenses as I continue to pursue my educational goal and ultimately my career goal.

Valerie from California
Azusa Pacific University