Last week we interviewed Dell Scholar, College Forward student, and recent high school graduate, Angela Lopez, about her College Forward experience and college goals. Angela will be attending The University of Texas at Austin in the fall, and we were so excited to sit down with her to explore her next steps.
What was the highlight of your semester?
The highlight of my semester was having the opportunity to visit Hawaii with my school’s dance team right before Spring Break. As a four-year varsity member, being able to create these memories and have these experiences with girls I had spent so much time with for many years, was truly memorable. Since it was also before COVID-19 became as prevalent as it is now, it was relaxing to detach from reality and experience something new in a different place. Now looking back, I’m grateful that it’s the way I was able to end my senior year of high school as an alternative to the traditional events that would have occurred.
2. Why did you apply to College Forward?
I applied to College Forward because a friend had told me about the program and about how much it had helped him. As a first-generation student, learning more about the college process and getting help about where to start with it all, appealed to me. Before knowing about when or how to apply, I had also already unknowingly met and gotten help from one of the coaches who helped me begin applying for summer programs. After this, I was able to see how much being a part of College Forward would help me in the future.
3. How has College Forward impacted your high school experience?
Being a part of College Forward these past two years has opened the door for many opportunities and experiences for me. It allowed me to be able to apply and be awarded the Dell Scholarship, meet other students with similar goals and who provided me with useful advice, gave me the resources I needed to be successful when writing my essays for my applications to summer programs and college, and gave me the knowledge I needed to feel prepared to start college.
Being a part of College Forward also helped me help others who needed the information but who weren’t a part of the program. I felt well enough informed to give them some of the information they needed for applying to college and when I wasn’t sure, I confidently sent them to one of my coaches, knowing that their questions would be answered.
The most significant way that College Forward impacted my high school experience was by providing me with mentors/coaches who helped me apply for summer programs and who aided me through the process of writing and editing essays. With this help, I was able to attend the Hispanic Scholarship Fund’s Youth Leadership Institute at the University of Chicago and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s MOSTEC program in Cambridge last summer, as well as the one I will be participating in this summer, the Bank of America Student Leader program.
4. What is the best advice you ever received?
The best advice I’ve received has been from my mother which was to pursue an education because “no matter what, an education is something that nobody can ever take from you because once you’ve had it, the knowledge is yours.”
5. What will you be studying at The University of Texas at Austin?
I plan to major in Electrical Engineering with a concentration on robotics and a minor in Spanish and Business at the University of Texas at Austin. I chose this career because I plan to find innovative ways to use technology to help underserved communities. I’d like to work with non-profit organizations and one day start my own.
6. What is your goal for the summer?
If we get out of our current national crisis soon, I plan to make up for lost time with my friends and spend as much time as I can with them before we all go our own ways and college starts. Regardless of whether or not we’re still in quarantine though, I plan to start preparing myself for college by beginning to review for some of the classes I’ll be taking such as physics and intro to computing. I was also admitted into Bank of America’s Student Leader program so I hope to make the most out of it even though it’ll only be online this year.
7. How can your coaches, mentors, and teachers best support you during this time?
I think one of the best ways that my coaches, mentors, and teachers can help me right now is by helping me prepare for what’s next. Although the school year isn’t over, I think it’s important to start college prepared and knowing what to expect rather than focusing too much on how this year is going to end because, as a senior, there isn’t much left of it. More specifically, I think helping me get ready with things online like my college orientation and registering for my classes, would be very helpful since normally they are things I would be getting to do in person, and doing them online has been a little confusing.
8. Who has motivated you the most throughout your time in high school?
Throughout my time in high school, the people who have motivated me most are my friends, family, one of my teachers from junior year, Mr. Abdelmaseih, and my College Forward coach, Chris O’Donnell. They’ve all helped me stay focused on my goal, encouraged me to do things out of my comfort zone to help me succeed, and have exposed me to new opportunities in and out of school.
9. What was your biggest accomplishment this year?
This year my biggest accomplishment was getting into about half of the schools I applied to, as being admitted into one of the best engineering programs has always been a personal goal of mine. If given the chance, I’ve always wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to learn at a prestigious institution with others who have similar goals as me. Along with this, getting into college, in general, has been a great accomplishment of mine since I’ll be the first in my family to do so.