Uplift Peak alumna Natalia Mancia is a recent college graduate from the College of Saint Benedict with a bachelors of arts in psychology and a minor in art. Mancia is the first in her family to graduate from college.
The 21 year-old found the Road To College counselors to be one of her biggest supporters in addition to her family. Mancia always knew education was the key to success. Growing up she saw her parents work two jobs to provide for herself and her brother.
“My parents always grew up telling us it was hard to get where we are now. It wasn’t that easy; that’s also one thing that motivated me,” said Mancia.
The college graduate also attributes her motivation to her mom.
“My mom went to college, but she couldn’t afford to continue her studies,” she said.
Mancia has already become a strong advocate for higher education for her family. She now tries to be a role model for her cousins and younger brother, and show that it is possible to go to college. She knows that while it may not be easy, it pays off in the long run.
She admits while it was difficult to leave home and go out-of-state and experience a completely different environment, it is something that has helped her become independent. Uplift Peak Road To College counselors Ms. Rutland and Ms. Estrada helped guide Mancia through the college application process but also supported her through her four years at St. Benedict.
“Ms. Rutland was a person that I really leaned on to ask questions,” said Mancia.
Mancia hopes to be provide the same support she received for alumni from Uplift Luna Preparatory in Deep Ellum, where she will start as the Road To College this coming school year. She hopes to share her experience and struggles with families to ensure scholars stay on track and graduate from college.