Student ID Number31056
NameGeraldine Ruiz
What is your GPA4.13
What high school do you attend? (CHS or CSHS)CHS
Where have you applied for further education?

Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI
Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA
Loyola University of Chicago, Chicago,IL
Northwest Nazarene University, Nampa, ID

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

When my grandma broke her hip, I didn’t grasp the impact it would have on my family. That was probably the first time I had seen my mom truly scared. The same night we got the call, she dropped everything and booked a flight to Mexico. In the months that followed, my mom became my grandmother’s main caregiver; she did everything from dressing her to bathing her or taking her to appointments. While she was still recovering, my grandma became really sick and, just as my mom did, my aunts and older cousins watched over my grandmother’s needs until she passed away. I learned a lot from them about being selfless.

Nursing is more than administering medications, monitoring signs, or simply going to the motions, you have the opportunity to help others when they are most vulnerable. Most days, it was difficult for my grandma to depend on others, but what made the difference was the effort we made to make her feel comfortable. My passion extends past my grandma. I know most days won't be easy, but when a patient has to look to someone other than family, I want to be the one to make a difference.

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?

Now that I am a senior, I understand more than ever just how much power education has. Going to a good school would make the world of a difference in terms of the opportunities that are available for me. This fall, I plan to pursue my post-secondary education at Marquette University, Gonzaga University, or Northwest Nazarene University and major in nursing. Because of my background and community, I also plan to minor in Spanish.
Such a big part of my high school experience, were the extracurricular activities I took part in. I will take advantage of every opportunity to get involved in college. I am interested specifically in joining clubs that are related to my major, my Catholic faith, my ethnicity, and service. I am aware of the fact that the learning environment will be much different from the one I have experienced. Just as I have before, I will push myself academically. Throughout college, my goal is to maintain a GPA of 3.5 or better.
Although my interest in nursing stems from my passion to help others, I hope to give back in additional ways. Getting to this point in the college process has not been easy. When I graduate, I plan to mentor younger students like me, and share my story. And, with the education I receive from any of these schools, I will use my position as a nurse to help create volunteer, internship, etc. opportunities for underrepresented, under-resourced students.

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

Caldwell High School Student Government
-Cause Week
-Rockin’ for Research
-Christmas Bowl
National Honor Society
-Canned Food Drive
-Bake Sale
TRIO Upward Bound
-First-Generation Celebration
-TRIO Day Celebration
Girls on the Run
-GOTR Treasure Valley 5k Race
Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council
-Caldwell MYAC Fundraiser Dinner
-Caldwell Community Pride Day
Caldwell High School Basketball
-Shop with a Cop
Caldwell High School Track & Field
Future Hispanic Leaders of America
Health Occupations Students of America

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

There came a time where a dream I’d had for the longest time became reality. The thought of it began when my older sister traveled to France. I was only 11, but I made a promise to myself that one day, I would too. It was a goal that I had forgotten about in the midst of growing up, and didn’t return again until I joined Upward Bound. I was drawn to the part of the classroom wall labeled “Our Footprints”. I could see the places students had traveled. It gave me hope. Seeing that made me think “Maybe.”
The summer before senior year, that was me - I was the one waiting at the airport. I had so many emotions, it almost felt like I had none. There was one moment, however, that I remember vividly. It came after I had just finished sending my parents a text, letting them know I had made it onto the plane. I found my seat, next to the window. I turned off my phone and that was it. In that moment, I felt the emotions I didn’t feel before and I began to cry. I was alone. It wasn’t so much that I was scared. I was ready, but more than that, I was stuck between wanting to stay and wanting to leave. I had done it all for them. I worked hard in school and extracurricular activities because they worked hard to give each of those opportunities. Yet, I had to leave them behind.
The experience was one that would eventually change how I saw myself and what I thought I could do. It was then that I learned the most important lesson I can carry with myself through college; I learned sometimes leaving footprints means you have to walk alone.

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

The biggest obstacle I will face is not having the support of the two things that have pushed me to work throughout high school: my family and my TRIO family.
I have gotten the chance to see what it's like to say goodbye each time my older sister leaves after coming during breaks. I know that despite being a four hour drive away, it still hurts her to leave and it hurts my mom to see her go. My family is my everything. They do so much for me simply by being present. Knowing that, within a few months, I will be the one leaving, is a thought that makes my heart hurt. My parents are my biggest motivation. Seeing them work hard reminds me to work just as hard, if not harder, at everything that I do.
Being a first-generation student, there are many things related to college that my parents can’t teach me. Luckily, I’ve had the support of the TRIO Upward Bound program. Today, Josh and the students in it are the people I consider my second family. Most days, I’m tired from all the stress of classes, but they remind me to keep going, even if it's by tapping on my computer, as a way of encouraging me to write.
Because I am a first-generation student, my path seems a little more difficult than everyone else’s. Despite being away from home, I take comfort in knowing I’ll still keep in touch with my family. I look forward to getting the daily good morning texts my mom sends my sister. At whatever university I end up, I will look for a good mentor and support system, like the one TRIO Upward Bound offered. And if all else fails, I know Josh is only a phone call away.

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

It's hard to explain just how much impact this program has had on me. When I joined, I was only a sophomore. I knew I was smart and that my grades would get me to college, but I never realized how far I could go. This program provided me with opportunities I didn’t know were possible. Today, I can say that because of it, I am ready to set the world on fire.
I struggle to write this scholarship and I wish more people got to meet the students who I’ve shared my TRIO classroom with because I think then they’d understand why. We come from broken families, low-income backgrounds, and minority groups, but each one of us is strong. I take pride in simply knowing that I am a part of this family. I know I am making a change for the younger students in the program, for my family, and maybe another Latino that may come after me.
The scholarship itself represents the hard work we put in when no one else is watching. Being first-generation is not easy. There are days when I wish I could just give up. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve cried more times throughout the process than I’ve wanted to. However, I am proud to say the girl who walked into the program is not the one walking out. Being the first recipient of this scholarship, would mean more to me than I can put in words. It is a testament not only to the growth I have experienced, but to the promising potential I have as a leader. Many days, it seems like not everyone understands what it is that we’re going through. For me, it means that they see us, winning would mean that they see me.

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?

The most rewarding volunteer experience I had came from being a part of Girls on the Run at Washington Elementary School, where I, along with other girls in the program, served as a junior coach. The opportunity to mentor younger girls was the one that led me to learn more about myself and about the meaning of service.
Because of Girls on the Run, I’ve met so many powerful young girls and, to my surprise, I met some that reminded me of myself. During my first season, one of them was Jasmine. From the beginning, I could tell she struggled the most to interact with the other girls. At each practice, I made more of an effort to talk to her and offered to be her running buddy. I wanted to make sure she took away something positive from being in the program. As time went on, she began to open up. She was bonding with other girls and had even made some new friends. The changes she made that season were amazing. After the season, her counselor shared with me that Jasmine was a new, more confident person at school. She was no longer struggling in school or having trouble communicating with peers.
Like Jasmine, I was also the girl who was generally more reserved. For a long time, I was convinced that it made me unfit to be a leader and unfit to create change. Girls on the Run changed that. I realized that even a simple act could make a difference. And although Jasmine is only one of the girls who have participated, I have volunteered every season since that first year because I see just how much impact the program can have on a group of girls.

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

The schools I have applied to are mostly private, out-of-state universities. They come with a cost that is much greater than what my parents can contribute financially. Throughout high school, I have maintained good grades and taken rigorous coursework, so I could be in the best position before applying to scholarships and schools. At this point, I have received my financial aid offer for Marquette University, one of my top choice schools. The estimated cost of admission is $59.833. The school has provided me a grant of $19,800 and a scholarship of $16,000. If I factor in federal and state aid, I have $39,145 in gift aid to attend Marquette. Although this is a great starting point, there is still $24,591 remaining.
It’s a number that sometimes gets in the way of my excitement. To cover the remaining amount, I am actively applying for scholarships and grants. Now that basketball season is over, I also have more time to do things and am looking to get a job. I plan to work this summer before heading off to college and saving up as much money as I can. I am doing my best to make ends meet. And although, my goal is to go to college with as little loans, I understand that I may need to take them. As a college student, I will also participate in a work-study program and will work to keep my grades up for additional scholarships.