Bright Prospect would like to congratulate our alumna Julianna Gomez on her new appointment as Assistant Director of Admissions at the Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University.
Bright Prospect would like to thank our donors, for making success stories like Julianna’s possible.
Julianna’s road to this achievement has not been easy. Here is her story, in her own words.
I grew up in Montclair, CA, and was raised by a single mother, who worked in a low-income job as an in-home caregiver. Although she did her best to take care of me and my three siblings, her severe alcohol dependency created an unhealthy environment at home for us. My father was in an out of my life (mostly out), which is something that's always been a struggle for me. He also dealt with his own issues with alcoholism, which contributed to the toxic relationship between him and my mother.
During my freshman year in high school, we were evicted from the home that we all grew up in. Because we had nowhere to go, we moved in with my great aunt in Montclair. Having to leave the only home I ever knew was a turning point for me, and my entire family. Although I grew up in an unstable environment, it was still "home." And when we got evicted, not only was it an even more unstable environment, but there was no more sense of "home." Even my mother became more lost and got buried deeper in her alcoholism.
During that time, I turned to school, as I always did, as a means for escape. Education has always been the sunlight in my life.
Bright Prospect has been a blessing in my life from the day I filled out the application to become a Bright Prospect Scholar. The staff, especially Stephanie, Tim, and Savoeun, made me feel like I was a special member of their family. Coming from a broken home, Bright Prospect became my safe haven and comfort. I used to keep my home life a secret from everyone I knew. I was too embarrassed to share the truth of my life, including my mother's alcoholism, not having a home, not having my father around, and being below the income poverty line. They were the first people that I shared that sensitive information with, and although it was scary, I was completely relieved to finally let go of my secrets. And they accepted me and my family, offered empathy and support, and led us to helpful resources.
Without Bright Prospect, I don't know where I would be today. Before joining the program, I had no intention to apply to as many colleges as I did, especially not to private colleges. Bright Prospect opened my eyes to the possibilities for my future. Being a first-generation college student, I had no direction or role models in my immediate family when it came to seeking and applying for college. My favorite experience at Bright Prospect was doing a fall fly-In program at Colorado College. I got to visit the college, stay in the dorms, talk to college students, meet admissions counselors, and get the necessary exposure to understand what college had in store for me.
After doing my research on colleges all over the United States, I decided on USC. The moment I stepped onto that campus, I knew it was the one. Even though I knew my financial aid would not cover the entire tuition, I took a chance knowing that I would somehow get scholarships and make it work.
My college experience at USC was incredible! Not only did I get accepted into the most prestigious university in Southern California, but I also received a full ride as a Gates Millennium Scholar, and got accepted into the Norman Topping Scholarship Program (which is similar to Bright Prospect, but for USC students).
My first year of college was definitely a transition, and culture shock. I went from being an over-achiever, one of the top students in my high school class, surrounded by people who came from similar backgrounds as me, to an average student surrounded by people from all different backgrounds, who were also over-achievers, and could carry on intellectual debates that I was not prepared or trained for yet. Luckily, I had the Norman Topping program, which became a family to me, and a safe place on campus to connect with people that were going through similar experiences as me.
The best part about my college experience is the personal, professional, social, and educational growth that happened for me over four years of undergraduate and two years of my Masters program. I am a more well-rounded person today, than I was before entering college.
While at USC, I earned my Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies and Ethnicity, with a minor in Urban Neighborhood Studies. I went straight into a graduate program at USC's Rossier School of Education, and got my Master of Arts degree in Education Counseling. I also joined my sorority, Lambda Theta Nu Sorority, Inc., and got the opportunity to serve as the President of the Multicultural Greek Council on campus.
Being a USC alumna has opened so many doors of opportunity for my career path. The Trojan Family Network extends all over the country and the world. I have connected with other alumni in my internships, jobs, and events. They are always willing to help with anything I need, and vice versa.
I am currently the Assistant Director of Admissions for the Master of Arts in Management program at the Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University. (Wow, that is a long title!) I am responsible for engaging with prospective students and helping them navigate the admissions process.
It is only fitting that I work at a college, because, as I mentioned earlier, education has always been a ray of sunshine in my life. Education saved my life, and allowed me to flourish on a positive path in my career.
Looking back, I see a common theme in each one of my internships and jobs, which is helping others pursue their passions in order to climb the personal and professional ladder. I think my background and experiences, and being a member of Bright Prospect, have inspired me to help others pursue their educational goals and career aspirations. My life has been changed for the better because of amazing opportunities like Bright Prospect, and I only hope to give the same to the people I encounter throughout my life and career.