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Celess Roman Study Abroad Essay

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 Essay Question: Two- to three-page student essay answering these questions: How and when were you introduced to your TRIO program? Why are you interested in traveling and studying abroad? How would this experience relate to your academic, personal, and professional goals?

As a first-generation Latina woman, I grew up in a gendered culture where women are expected to fill traditional gender roles and stay at home with their families. As a child, every Sunday morning my father would drag my sister and me out of bed to help my mother prepare breakfast for him and my younger brothers. I was taught that a woman stayed at home, learned how to cook and clean while men provided for their family. Being forced to follow gender roles has made me determined to break the stereotype, shifting the paradigm of the role of a woman. My goal is to influence other young women and students to take charge and pursue traveling on their own to further their educational aspirations. By demonstrating to the Latino community that women are capable of travel to another country on their own. Living in a male dominated society, I want to inspire women to be independent and apply to programs like the Keith Sherin Global Leader Program.  Being a first-generation college student, I want to be the first in my family to study abroad while influencing my younger siblings to see the potential of higher education.

While growing up, my family faced constant financial hardship. My parents could never afford to take my siblings and me to visit new places. Despite not being able to afford museum visits and outdoor trips, I spent my time outside in my backyard to expand my curiosity of nature. My global studies classes encouraged my interest to explore different parts of world to understand how communities and people function. From the Natural Geographic magazines that I collected from my school library’s recycling bin, my desire to travel abroad bloomed. Seeing the diverse photographs from the various areas of the world attracted my attention as I began to collect photographs of places and people that I could only dream about traveling to.

During my fall semester of my junior year at Liberty High School, I was introduced to the TRIO program. All my friends were planning out where they wanted to attend for college and were enrolled into college prep courses. Many of my friends’ parents had paid for them to attend ACT and SAT workshops. Living with a single parent who was unemployed, I felt completely lost about how to afford college prep courses and preparing for the upcoming college entry exams. Being a first-generation student I felt overwhelmed by the process and requirements of applying to colleges. Working two jobs to financially support my family, I felt as though a post-secondary education was out of my financial reach. My older sister knew how much I wanted to attend college and told me about a program called TRIO-Educational Talent Search at my high school. Through my own research, I learned that the TRIO program provides students like myself academic mentoring and college prep workshops. These were things I knew I needed in order to receive guidance for applying to colleges. Despite the TRIO program being full, I connected myself with the TRIO advisor and discussed with her how much I needed this program to support me in achieving my educational goal of attending college. Despite not being fully accepted into the TRIO-Talent Search program, I was determined to attend every workshop and college field trip that the program offered. It was not until spring semester that I was fully accepted into the TRIO Talent Search program.



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