Student ID Number28297
NameMariela Esquivel-Rodriguez
What is your GPA3.67
What high school do you attend? (CHS or CSHS)CHS
Where have you applied for further education?

Northwest Nazarene University, Nampa, Idaho
Idaho State University, Pocatello, Idaho
Boise State University, Boise,Idaho
Evergreen State College, Olympia, Washington

What is your inteded major/speciality?Social Work
In 200 words or less please explain why you are choosing this major/specialty

My passion is to see change in my community in how young women get treated. I want more young women to be able to know their worth especially those in strong cultures. After having an internship with the Mandela Washington Fellowship Program this summer, I got to be around strong women who showed me different traits when being leaders of organizations. After being around more young women and personal experiences, my passion for helping inspire and be a role model for them has grown each day. By getting a degree in social work, I hope to start a non profit organization to help young women find their voice, especially those who come from a strong culture background. By becoming a social worker, I want to create change and help change lives through my leadership and communication with others.

1. What are your educational goals? Specifically list your planned major and minor courses of study. What do you plan to do with your education?

I didn’t see potential in myself until this past year, as I dug deeper into my passion helping serve the young women in my community.

Becoming a leader is what has shaped me into becoming the person I am. I strive to become a better version of myself, not only for the young girls in my community but for my younger siblings, so those around me can be inspired to do better for others, too. I hope to help serve the unheard, young women of color, and underrepresented students. I’ve started helping small, but hope in the future to help bigger.

After receiving my bachelor’s degree in social work and minors in Spanish and women’s and political studies, I want to create non-profit organizations that will inspire, lead, and help change the lives of young women all around different communities of Idaho, then hopefully, around the world. My goal is to become a woman I would have wanted to look up to when I was younger.

Although I’ve done a lot, I have so much more to do. More young women deserve to be inspired at an early age and have the confidence to be able to use their voices in order to fight for their passions. My passion is still only starting, but I hope to continue to grow everyday as a person and discover new things about myself that will help me find ways in order to support others.
I plan to do more things that will help my community. I hope to one day sit on the city council and be a voice for the people who do not have one, and continue to work my way and represent our city well. Caldwell is a special community to me, and all the people in it as well.

What extracurricular activities or events have you participated in during high school?

TRIO Upward Bound (10th, 11th, 12th)
National Honor Society (11th, 12th)
Intern For Mandela Washington Fellowship Program (11th)
Girls on the Run at Washington Elementary (11th, 12th)
Young Women in Leadership Programming Chair (12th)
TRIO Upward Bound Book Club (10th, 11th, 12th)
Cross Country (9th, 10th)
Basketball (9th, 10th, 11th)
Track and Field (9th, 10th, 11th, 12th)
TRIO Educational Talent Search (9th)

3. What is the most impactful experience that you have had as a participant in TRIO Upward Bound?

The two hardest conversations that I have had with my parents were about college and my mental health. Last September, I found myself overwhelmed and struggling. I never understood what was happening to me, but I knew I wasn’t myself. I’d skip school a few times, and couldn't get out of bed in the morning. It was hard finding strength to keep going.
One day when I skipped school, I got a call from Josh. His first words were, “Hey, how are things going?” I immediately began to cry. I explained how I was feeling and that I didn’t know what to do. He suggested trying the counseling that our school offered. The idea wasn’t bad, but I didn’t know how to tell my parents, who didn’t understand what it meant to be mentally sick. I was scared to, because in my old school Mexican household, I had to be strong mentally all the time.
Josh suggested my mom come to the classroom to fill out FAFSA paperwork, then I bring up how I had been feeling. When I told my mom, it wasn’t only hard on her, but also for me. We both cried so much that day. She told me how much she loves me and that she had noticed I was hurting. She said that she would support me in any college I decide to go to, and that doing counseling would be good for me.
This day had the most impact on my life because I had never had a conversation like that with my mom. TRIO Upward Bound is a program to prepare low-income, first-generation students for college, but to me it is more than that. I know that if I wasn’t in TRIO Upward Bound that conversation with my mom would have never happened.

Other than financial, what is the biggest obstacle you face to completing college? What resources will you utilize to help you overcome this obstacle?

As a first-generation student, school and home life have never been easy for me. My parents never knew how to help, but always pushed me to succeed in school.
Although, the relationship I have with my family is special. I hold many responsibilities at home that when I leave for college, I know my family will be impacted. I drop and pick up my brother everyday for school. One day as we were driving back home, he asked me, “Mariela, if you’re going to leave for college next year, who’s going to take me to school?” My heart immediately fell. I guess I had never thought about who will take over my responsibilities when I leave. It was hard to answer him because I didn’t know the answer to his question. I began to explain to my 8 year old brother to not worry, that I wasn’t going to be too far from home, but that we would figure it out when that time came. I plan to have conversations with my family to figure out who will take over my responsibilities at home. I know these will be difficult but necessary for my success in college.
Going to college, even if I am still in the Boise area, will be a challenge for me because I am not going to see my family everyday. I have grown bonds with my family that will be hard for me to leave behind. I know that by being first-generation, my family won’t be able to understand why I can’t go home every weekend and why I don’t go over for dinner at night. The transition won’t be easy for me, but I know that my drive in completing college is for my family.

5. What will it mean to you to be the recipient of The Opportunity Fund?

It is important to me that the underclassmen in the program are successful. Being the first recipient of this scholarship is important, because the students that come after me will get to be more successful because of it.
I serve as a leader in this classroom as a senior. Many of the underclassmen see me as a role model for the work I have done, and for serving as a mentor to them. The hard work that I put into my scholarships today, will affect what the students in our program do later.
I care a lot about what happens to our program after I leave. I hope to have left my mark on this program and hope to do so if I win this scholarship. Our program has grown, and to have a scholarship dedicated to its students is a big deal, and to be the first ever recipient of it would be a big deal for me.
This would also be a huge honor for my family, specifically for my younger siblings who will be in the program in the years to come. My role as a big sister is to be the example and role model at home. For my younger siblings to see me receive the TRIO Upward Bound scholarship will encourage them to do as good in the program, and one day become the winner of this scholarship as well.

6. To what organizations or events have you offered service during high school? What was the most rewarding volunteer experience that you have had, and why?

I have offered my service to many different organizations in high school that included Girls on the Run, Service Learning in TRIO Upward Bound, and National Honor Society. I would like to highlight a successful experience.
I served as the programming chair of the Young Women in Leadership planning committee. I had many different responsibilities on the committee, but had one my main focus, to empower the young women that were going to attend. The purpose and focus for the one day leadership conference was for young women to seek their inner leader and find a voice.
Being the programming chair was a new experience for me, one that I didn’t know if I was capable of doing. I got tested in so many ways while planning this conference. But, I knew the outcome was going to be amazing.I did my best to find strong women to serve as mentors, picked two impactful keynote speakers, and included skill and mentoring workshops. These consisted of business, politics, STEM, and community and service engagement. For skills, it consisted of dress appearance, mentoring, networking, and public speaking.
The best part of this experience has been hearing the girls’ reflections on their experiences at the conference. Here is a few quotes from their reflections:

"The conference really inspired me because I feel like I have a voice. I have a really important power, which is to be able to speak up with all of the confidence in the world."

"The conference inspired me to be more grateful, confident, to never give up on my dreams no matter what happens, and that in life I have to take risks to be able to reach the top."

7. How do you plan to fund your post-secondary education? If you have worked during high school describe what you have done.

Through TRIO Upward Bound, I have gotten the opportunity to tour many different colleges. NNU is the best fit for me. The annual cost of attendance is $40,00 per year. I received a scholarship from the university that will cover $16,000 of that amount.My goal is to have my tuition paid for. I plan to do this through my hard work in scholarships and working,
When I turned 16, I began looking for a job. The hardest thing to watch growing up, was seeing my parents suffer in pain from their work. It hurt me seeing their tired aching bodies lay on the couch. I worked, so my parents didn’t have to. So that I could take a bit of pain off their back and onto mine. I still work at Panda Express, helping my parents pay bills at home. I work to help support my parents for all the different kinds of ways they supported me growing up.
Working while being a full time student is something that no one really ever warns you about. It’s being able to squeeze in homework and study time, even after a long night’s shift standing on your feet. It’s the feeling of wanting to lay in bed after 15 hour weekend shifts.
I hardly get to see my family because of work, and that’s hard. I never realized how lost one gets when not having time for yourself outside of school, work, and extracurricular activities.
I wish I could quit my job, so maybe life would feel a bit less hard. But I am in a situation where that isn’t an option for me. My parent’s can’t help pay for my college tuition. They have greater worries, and it is my responsibility to pay for college on my own.