Community & Friends

New student embraces university’s service motto

Posted on Wednesday, September 26th, 2012 by CommunityEngagement.

reposted from the UNCG Carolinian

UNCG attracts all sorts of students, from different backgrounds, states, and even countries, creating a diverse atmosphere on the campus. Everyone has his or her own story to share and this one is well worth sharing. Meet Stephanie Perez, an out-of-state freshman from Miami, Florida. Stephanie has an interesting story, a touching story that should inspire others, as that is her goal in this university. Only being on campus for a short time, Stephanie has a vision for herself already, which started out with embracing the university motto: service.

Stephanie attended high school in Miami and for her going to a university was a necessity. In high school, she was extremely involved with tutoring, the National Honor Society, and several organizations. With goals of attending Duke’s medical school and becoming a neurosurgeon, Stephanie took the first steps to achieve her dream. Through a college advising program that her high school implemented, she had a lot of help along the way from her advisor, Ms. Mendoza.In applying for college, Stephanie researched different universities, craving an experience outside of Miami. While researching schools, she started considering applying for UNC Chapel Hill; upon further research, she found other UNC system schools became intrigued. UNCG attracted Stephanie because of its history; “it is so interesting and I feel as if UNCG has the most interesting background compared to other schools I looked at”, Stephanie gushed enthusiastically. Apart from the history, the seller for Stephanie was the University’s motto: service. As someone who embraces giving back to the community, service is something Stephanie wants to continue doing while in college. When asked what kind of service she wants to be involved with, she responded that she wanted to help students; “I want to be a tutor, I enjoy helping students and helping them achieve”.

Apart from service, Stephanie has other goals socially and academically. Being biology major, she is seeking to be involved with extracurricular science, such as joining a science organization as well as social organizations so she can network with other students. “UNCG is so diverse and I just want to be as involved as I can be with that” she exclaimed, going on about how she fell in love with the culture of the University when she first visited.

For Stephanie, there have been many challenges to get to where she is today. Being raised by a single mother, it has been difficult for her. “My mother and I support each other a lot” she explained while going into detail about the process she went through to move to Greensboro. Stephanie’s mother has fibromyalgia and is a victim of chronic depression, making the process of leaving Miami a bit difficult. “I could not leave my mom” she said as she explained how she and her mother moved to Greensboro together in June; the move was completed in several drives, going back and forth between Greensboro and Miami. The transition to university life is easier for both as they stick together.

What exactly makes Stephanie’s story interesting? Apart from being an intelligent person, a goal-setter, and determined, Stephanie has a claim to fame. Ms. Mendoza, Stephanie’s advisor, nominated her student for a scholarship. A State Farm Scholarship is given annually to a Hispanic high school graduate to celebrate academic achievement. In late June, Stephanie received a phone call from Univision, a major Hispanic television network, telling her that she was a finalist. As a finalist, she was flown to Miami for Premios Juventud, an annual music and television awards program aired on Univision. There, she would find out on national television whether she won the $50, 000 scholarship. When called on stage with the other finalist, President Obama appeared on the screen to present the scholarship. “I almost died on stage when he said my name!” Perez said as she described her fifteen minutes of fame.

Stephanie’s story is inspiring because of her determination to succeed and her passion for service and the University. It is refreshing to come across a freshman that knows what they want and search for opportunities to make their dreams reality. Not every student is familiar with the University motto, but for Stephanie, it is the main reason she decided to attend UNCG.