Geraldine Bogard, a freshman at Brandeis University, is excited about her future. “I think about it all the time. My main idea is to study education and business. I look forward to my internship. I’m really looking forward to running a nonprofit organization in Haiti,” says the 19 year old.
Three years ago, Geraldine wasn’t sure what to expect. Geraldine had just moved from Haiti to New York to live with her father and then to Boston to live with her aunt. She struggled to make the adjustment at TechBoston Academy, “I did not speak any English at all. I was depressed because I failed three of my classes and in Haiti I never failed classes! I’m always on top of my game and that was a big shock for me.”
Geraldine rose to this challenge with an inspiring combination of hard work and determination. She worked tirelessly, seeking out extra help from teachers and teaching herself how to use the library and internet. By her junior year, Geraldine was back on her game, an A student who played on the soccer team, took classes at a nearby community college, and worked at the Boston College dining hall.
“As I am getting in higher classes, I hear about college, I want to go to college, but I don’t know how the process works.” She explains that, “[At home] we don’t really talk about college. I have to be responsible for that, especially since my parents did not go to school in the United States.”
It was only when Kristin, her uAspire advisor, came to her class that Geraldine also began to wonder “how am I going to pay for college?”
“I met with Kristin many times to fill out the financial aid forms. It was not easy. But she was so patient with me. And the fact that she was there for me at school, and I did not have to go somewhere else, was really, really helpful.”
In May , Geraldine and Kristin celebrated her acceptance to Brandeis and 4-year scholarship that covers 100% of her tuition and fees. She will have some minimal debt to repay to cover the gap in her room and board costs—and she knows the exact amount. For Geraldine, a college degree promises to change not only her life, but her family’s life too. “I’m glad, not only for myself, but that now I can help my younger sister when she starts this process,” she says.
Inspired by her uAspire advisor, Geraldine is already thinking of ways to pay this help forward in her home country, “There are a lot of opportunities in the United States that we don’t have in Haiti.” Geraldine knows—as we all do—that there are millions of young people like her who have everything they need to succeed if they are just given the chance to fulfill their potential.
“I think about the opportunity that I have been given and how I have programs like uAspire. I did not have anyone else to help me with the financial aid process. It was all her. It was all uAspire.”