“I thrived at Madison College. I wasn’t just another number, another student in class. They really cared about all of me, not just the student side of me.”
Fast forward 10 years and now Karen is studying at the University of Wisconsin Law School with a planned graduation of summer 2024. She smiles as she shares that her journey as a LatinX woman has been a wild ride. “I still have pinch me moments when I’m in class. I’m soaking up everything I can to take with me and give back to communities who helped me get here.”
You see Karen moved to Madison from Mexico when she was very young with parents who were looking to make a better life for their four children. She didn’t have “the ability or privilege to ask a family member what it was to attend college,” which meant she relied on those in academic settings for support. Many encouraged her to see herself in higher education and believe that she could achieve her goals, even though there was not always representation in those spaces. Scholarships were what made that possible.
“I wouldn’t have been able to get this far if it wasn’t for people’s generous contributions and investments in me.”
Karen was the first person in her family to graduate high school. She was the first to graduate with her associates, and then her bachelor’s degree. Karen will be the first to graduate law school. But she won’t be the last. When her siblings were younger, she would bring them to campus just so they could envision themselves in the spaces. Her youngest sister is currently at Madison College studying criminal justice.
“I can’t wait to be in the position to do this for someone else.”