As a child, Samantha spent nine years in the foster care system before the court appointed her grandmother as the legal guardian of her and her four siblings.
Growing up, she witnessed high crime in a low-income community that greatly impacted her life. But rather than letting the experiences bring her down, she was motivated to do well in school so she could become an agent for change in her community. She enrolled at San Diego State University to pursue a degree in Criminal Justice, becoming a first generation college student in her family.
While at SDSU, Samantha learned about JIT’s College Bound service through the Guardian Scholars program and decided to apply. She described College Bound as a “huge blessing” that alleviated some of the stress of going into college, allowing her to focus on her studies. Thanks to JIT’s support, Samantha was also able to study abroad in Barcelona, Spain. She was initially overwhelmed since it would be her first time overseas, but JIT Study Abroad Coordinator, Steven, helped her plan every step of the way, including securing financial support, creating a budget, helping her decide where to travel and connecting her with a mentor who helped address obstacles while she was traveling.
Samantha graduated in May of this year with a double major in Criminal Justice and Spanish, but she’s not stopping there. Her next goal is law school, and her JIT community is still behind her 100%, recently providing financial assistance for an LSAT prep course. “Being able to know there was a program that would support my success, connect me to the community by giving me a mentor and provide me with basic college necessities that every college student needs… being from our background, that support is not usually there,” said Samantha. “I would have never had that support had it not been for Just in Time. Now I’ll be able to extend that in the future and give back to people who have really supported me in becoming who I am today.”