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Scholarship Support Helps Student Overcome Obstacles

Lizette Mendoza and her sister

While attending Utah State University on a scholarship, Lizette Mendoza Hernandez received some life-changing news. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement had detained her mother. The first-generation college student would have to return home to Notus to care for her two younger sisters.

“I felt like my whole world was falling apart. I had to withdrawal from USU, give up a scholarship I worked so hard to obtain, say goodbye to my new friends and sorority sisters and move back home to become the legal guardian of my two beautiful little sisters,” Lizette said.

These additional responsibilities didn’t stop the 19-year-old biology major from pursuing her goal of earning a college degree. She enrolled in a local community college and worked full-time while caring for a 17-year-old high school senior and a 6-year-old kindergartener with Down Syndrome.

With the promise of scholarship assistance, Lizette applied to Boise State.

“I am pursuing a bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in business in hopes of becoming an embryologist for cattle, and someday expanding our family farm,” she said.

While attending Boise State, Lizette has taken advantage of campus engagement opportunities that have proven beneficial in her college experience.

“I’ve had the opportunity to be a member of the Biology Club and be part of the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM )Outreach Program,” she said. “I’ve also had many opportunities to participate in internships and employment while earning my degree. My recent employment as a substitute teacher in my home town in Notus was possible because of my involvement in Boise State’s STEM Program.”

Lizette is the recipient of the Single Parent Scholarship, endowed Scott Willison Memorial Award, and the Idaho Opportunity Award.

“I cannot thank my scholarship donors enough for this opportunity to attend such a great university like Boise State,” she said. “The fact that there are people that believe in me enough to help fund my college education is unbelievable and humbling.”

Lizette’s future plans include marriage to her fiancé, Benji, and possibly working on a graduate degree.

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