Mariana: Scholarships Offer A Fighting Chance

Mariana: Scholarships Offer A Fighting Chance

Mariana: Scholarships Offer A Fighting Chance

At 17, Mariana Ramirez had risen to the top of her high school class. Her prospects for climbing the economic ladder were far more grim.

Years of ambition and effort distinguished Mariana as a student at Schaller-Crestland High School in Early. She was senior class valedictorian. A student golfer and volleyball player. Three-time winner of the Iowa Governor's Volunteer Award for mentoring young children every day after school.

Mariana's future, however, was clouded by circumstance. Seeking a more prosperous life, her family emigrated from Durango, Mexico, when Mariana was 10. Her parents could not afford college, and despite her academic promise, Mariana didn't qualify for federal student aid since her official U.S. residency was still years away.

"College was really impossible," Mariana recalls. "I started to dread graduating because I didn't know what I was going to do."

Buena Vista University gave Mariana a bold opportunity to author a new destiny.

After hearing about BVU's Scholarship Showcase, Mariana competed and was one of four students to receive the Multicultural Scholarship.

"I was ecstatic, I burst into tears," Mariana says, recalling her reaction to the news. "It changed my future completely."

Today, Mariana is a U.S. resident and double-major in history and English at BVU. She credits the University with igniting her passion for American history and preparing her for a possible career as a historian.