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Tags: 1st Gen. College Graduate, Mayan Math, Harvard Master, Successful Education Leader

Sheds light on an ordinary low-income girl's journey to extraordinary success, where school financing was only a number in the equation

Photo of Jeffrey Law
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Angie's journey to becoming a successful leader in education is  a special one.  She grew up in a low-income family.  Going college was a completely unplanned event in her family.  And it wasn't an easy decision for Angie herself, even after she received her Presidential Scholarship during her senior year.  Her less fortunate peers wouldn't understand the golden opportunity lying ahead of Angie.  Making money to support family was more of a necessity than a choice.  

However, she was destined to become the first generation college kid, studying Mathematics major in Texas A&M.  But the long and challenging road to become the first generation college "grad" just began.   She was under probation in her freshman year.  It was a result of lack of time management and guidance.  Luckily a mentor, Angie's Mayan Math teacher, became her light tower.  Angie claimed she wouldn't make it through to graduation if it wasn't her mentor.  After Texas A&M, Angie went on to earn her master in Harvard.  And now she is a proud principal in a community college.

In retrospective, Angie said the prestige scholarship received in the last year of her high school didn't simplify her decision pursuing higher education.  It was more of a family decision than personal.  Family's support, both mentally and emotionally, was a huge factor.

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

In Angie's story, there are 3 key components, mentoring, financial support, and family support. This is echoing/resonating several research works already posted in Openideo in this challenge. Is cost of higher education (HE) the real problem? What is the ultimate goal by making HE more affordable? Higher graduation rate? What is the return of investment of an HE degree now and 10 years later?

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Photo of Nathan Lucy

I've been wondering if the cost of HE is really the core issue, too, Jeffrey.

Photo of Jeffrey Law

Majority of the research takes a wider and deeper view of HE than costs. It will be interesting to see what ideas will get votes whereas the challenge focuses on affordability.

Photo of Nathan Lucy

Agreed. The disappointing thing about this challenge is that it assumes the solution. I hope some rebelliously holistic ideas turn up in the next phase.