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Student Spotlight: Yexalen

Yexalen has always known that college would be the path for her. When she moved to Omaha from Mexico in eighth grade, she thought that path was leading her into the medical field. But in her junior year of high school, she decided to change directions toward education.

To prepare for the medical field, Yexalen had taken every science class she could, received an EMT certification, and participated in the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s High School Alliance. Through her experience, she realized medicine wasn’t the right path for her, leaving her to wonder where to go next.

Yexalen is now a junior at the University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO), working toward her triple major in secondary education, international studies and Spanish. She is also working on earning her certification in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). It’s no surprise that this highly motivated College Possible student wants to use her skills to make a difference. She plans on using all three of her majors in her future career. Upon graduating, she hopes to become a Spanish teacher at a public high school in the Omaha metropolitan area. During her time as a teacher, Yexalen hopes to strengthen her classroom management skills and understand the current strengths and challenges in schools.

Once she feels confident in the classroom, Yexalen wants to rely on her experience with her international studies major and her teaching skills to go abroad, helping even more students in a different way. Yexalen says she wants to make a large impact in education, and she dreams of making real changes by one day working with the United Nations Department of Education.

I want to start working in the classrooms, because if there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s that you have to know what students need and how the classroom works before you can try to make decisions,” she says.

Not only was Yexalen motivated to attend college from a young age because of her career goals, but she says her mother played a huge role in getting her to where she is today. “My mom really pushed me,” says Yexalen. “She said if I wanted to go to college, even without financial aid, she’d make it work.”

Yexalen’s mother was the first person in her family to graduate from high school and college. Her mom understood the challenges Yexalen might face, but she knew the importance of a college degree. College became more feasible for Yexalen when she received the Goodrich Scholarship, the Buffett Scholarship and more. She remembers applying for 45 scholarships in high school, keeping tabs on the deadlines, requirements and website links.

Applying to so many scholarships was time-consuming, but so worth it in the end. I’m proud that I received the opportunities I have had because of them,” she says.

When Yexalen’s counselor in high school recommended College Possible to her, she knew it was an opportunity she wanted to take. She checked in with her counselor often, not wanting to miss the deadline to apply to the program.

College Possible is a really good tool, even if you don’t think you need it,” she says. “You never know what could come ahead, if you’ll need a reference or someone to go over your scholarship essays. You never know who you’re going to need. College Possible coaches are committed and willing to serve students.”

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